The tough talking supercop

The following are excerpts from an interview Mr. N. Rangachary, the plain talking chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority had with domain-B's V. Jagannathan:

On IRDA is taking too much time to finalise the entry regulations for private players

His terse reply is that the government is squarely responsible for the delay. He goes on to say that the IRDA was only recently formally set up. Further, the body has only two members -one each for life and general sectors - apart from me. The government is yet to fully constitute the Authority.

On IRDA, unlike its telecom counterpart, the TRAI, being very secretive

He is quick to point out that, in the area of telecom, any change in the rates or policies immediately affects the masses. So there is a need for open forum discussion, whereas insurance is a specialised field and the regulations drafted will interest only a particular interest group. He is also quick to clarify that the draft regulations issued by the body, have been discussed at length by industry veterans and the regulatory authority has taken into account their suggestions. So, the charge that the IRDA is being secretive and not discussing issues before publishing them is false.

On the issue of foreign ownership and other issues in the industry

He is very clear that the majority ownership should rest with Indians, but quickly adds that it is upto the government to decide on the final structure. He is also very clear that the regulatory body will regulate the role of surveyors, who play an important part in settling claims. According to him while there are 49,000 licensed surveyors, several of them have obtained the license by submitting forged or bogus documents. On the anvil is a regulation that will classify or categorise surveyors as per their area of specialisation and allow them to practice only in that area. Further, we will also issue a code conduct for surveyors/loss assessors.