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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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Back to infancy -- they n
  By Shaheen Chander  
  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
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  Two cities  
  By Abhijit Bhattacharyya

A BRITISH professor of human rights law at King's College, London, and a British cabinet minister have criticized the Indo-British visa policy. The professor is deeply "concerned" about his fellow citizens of Pakistani origin who are reportedly facing "discrimination" from the London mission of India that is "processing applications... for 7/8 weeks". For the professor, this delay is an instance of racial discrimination. The British minister, on the other hand, is candid enough to state that racial profiling is a reality when it comes to issuing visas to Indians wishing to travel to the United Kingdom.

Visa policies are based on reciprocity when bilateral relations are cordial. They become retaliatory if the relations turn sour.

Traditionally, Indo-British relations have been friendly. But the ex-rulers of the Empire have also intermittently exhibited a condescending attitude towards their former subjects.

Of all the pieces of information one needs to provide to make a general visa application to the UK, perhaps the most offensive are to be found in "Part 5 -- Finances and Employment". The first question in this section is: "Have you ever worked for any organization of a type (state or non-state) listed below?" -- "Armed Forces, Government, Judiciary, Media, Public or Civil Administration and Security".

If the answer is 'Yes', one has to "provide details of every organization" one has worked for and "include name of organization, job title or rank and dates (year to year)". And these are only some of the requirements of the UK visa office from an Indian planning to travel to the UK as a "tourist/general visitor". Compared to this, an Englishman can avail of a simple "visa application form for all applicants" at London's India House at Aldwych.

Today, India's fears about attacks launched by Pakistan-based terror groups using people of Pakistani origin, including those living far away from Pakistan, are real. The episode concerning Dawood Gilani (or David Headley) is too fresh to be forgotten.

The Indian visa office's delay in issuing visas to British nationals of Pakistani origin can be understood in this light. But the British anxiety to keep away the indigent and invite only the most intelligent or the well-heeled from South Asia can perhaps only be explained by the UK’s insecurities about its potential decline in the hands of the ex-subjects of the Empire.

The barrage of offensive questions to Indian nationals from the UK visa office continues like this -- "What is your total monthly income from all sources of employment or occupation after tax? Do you have savings, property or other income (for example from stocks and shares)? How much of your total monthly income is given to your family members and other dependants? Who will pay for your travel to the UK? Who will pay for your expenses such as accommodation and food?" and so on. Londoners wishing to visit India need not answer any of such personal questions jeopardizing or offending their privacy. One wishes to see how the British aspirant for an Indian visa would react to the same questions by Indian officers.

Thus, this is a tale of two cities. Delhi is criticized for taking seven to eight weeks for issuing visas to British nationals of Pakistani origin, notwithstanding the fact that the delay is for the sake of India's security.

Had the UK been geographically positioned next to Pakistan -- home to many dreaded terrorists -- could the UK government have always been able to act in accordance with the human rights law syllabus of King’s College? Human rights law, unfortunately, cannot be the ultimate reality in the life of a nation. Safety, security and integrity of a nation override the idealistic laws of university classrooms at times. (Courtesy: The Telegraph)
  Church creates jobs  
  By Saji Thomas, Sagar

A CHURCH program in central India is harnessing government schemes to help jobless people find work and improve lives in poverty-stricken villages.

Dinesh Kumar Namdev, from the Syro-Malabar rite Sagar diocese in Madhya Pradesh state, said a year ago poverty forced him and several others to think of withdrawing their children from schools.

That was when the diocese was encouraging unemployed people to join three self help groups it had formed.

The Church registered each group with a local government body to help them get a subsidized loan of 360,000 rupees (US$7,610), Namdev said.

Each group comprising 12-20 members, invested in brick-kilns, Yadav, the co-coordinator of the groups told on July 21.

"Now we have enough food to eat and money for our children's education," says Ramesh Chaurasia, a Hindu member of one group.

Chaurasia said although their villages have no Christians, the Church worked like an agent in bringing together jobless laborers.

The groups paid back the loan within a year and are enjoying new-found independence.

"Now whatever we earn will further improve our living standards," Chaurasia said.

The project's animator Khemchand Yadav said the Church has helped villagers understand the positive nature of the Church's work, which aims to help people better themselves.

"People were initially skeptical about it but are very receptive now," he said.

The state has witnessed several anti-Christian attacks in the past following allegations of conversion by Hindu extremists, who still maintain that the Church's social programs are a front for conversion work.

Father Shaju Devasy, who directs the project, said many are unaware of government schemes for people's welfare and the Church's efforts are directed "to helping people know about these schemes."
  Insure success  
  By Charandeep Singh

WITH a huge population base and large untapped market, insurance industry is a big 'opportunity area' in India for national as well as foreign investors.

India is the fifth largest life insurance market in the emerging insurance economies globally, growing at 15-20 per cent annually. This impressive growth in the market has been driven by liberalisation, with new players significantly enhancing product awareness and promoting consumer education and information. The strong growth potential of the country has also made international players to look at the Indian insurance market. Moreover, saturation of insurance markets in many developed economies has made the Indian market more attractive for international insurance players


The World Insurance Report of 2009 describes the penetration of life insurance in India as 'still woefully low'. India had 16 per cent of the world population, but only 1.68 per cent of the world life insurance market in 2008. A mere 20 per cent of the insurable population aged 20 to 60 years is currently covered by life insurance. The average number of policies held by per Indian consumer is just 1.33 as against 5.2 policies per consumer in mature markets. As we can see from the numbers, the potential for expansion of the market is huge especially with rising per capita income and a growing middle class that is expected to constitute 32 per cent of the total population in 2010. The insurance penetration levels as a percentage of GDP is expected to grow to 6 per cent by 2012 from the current 4.8 per cent which would translate to a CAGR of 13 per cent for the industry in the next five years.

Insurance companies in the developed world, where insurance has a much higher penetration, realise the huge potential of insurance industry in India. Add to it the fact that the possibility of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the sector rising up to 49 per cent and we have just another factor that holds promise of leading the growth in this industry. Although currently FDI is capped at 26 per cent, it's expected to be raised soon. This will result in increased investment by foreign companies, especially by the foreign partners of private life insurance companies.


A person with "Courage of Conviction" can be a golden resource for selling insurance products. Job opportunities offered by insurance companies are myriad. Since, the industry is predominantly manpower centric. The thumb rule in insurance is "More the Merrier" According to M.S. Sidhu, former National Head Corporate Business Bajaj Allianz, "To have maximum fleet on street pays, as it increases the number of distribution hands, and only training cost is involved. So, it is an inexpensive proposition as well". It works on a simple adage, more the number of "distributing hands" in the market the higher is the revenue generation. So the requirement of human resources is abundant.

Jobs in insurance sector are basically characterised in two categories -- firstly, those who are on the payrolls of the companies and are permanent employees. Second category is that of the part timers. Those who are on the payrolls are the distribution managers. Basically, the manager, the sales team are the first line managers.

Candidates with good leadership abilities, apart from excellent networking skills, are the ones who are most successfull in this job.

For the job of the distribution manager most of the companies scout for local talent. According to U.S. Samundri, Senior Divisional Manager with Bajaj Allianz, "Since one of the important job requirement of the distribution manager is to recruit and if the person is an outsider having no local know how, he won't be able to have quality people in his team". These candidates get internal promotions and apart from their basic salary package companies float good incentive schemes through which their income levels go up, and they touch higher echelons of their insurance career.

The backbone of the insurance industry are the financial advisors associated with each organisation. They are the ones who constitute the sales team of distribution managers. They are the part timers. Normally people with good social contacts, homemakers, retired persons and sometimes youngsters who have a strong desire to earn money, are the ones whom the companies associate with them as financial advisors.

Summing up the job fitment of Insurance advisors, Jatinder Sandhu, Location Head with leading Life Insurance Company, says, "We want greedy people not needy people as our advisor force". Companies have extensive and elaborate reward and recognition programmes to keep the their advisor force upbeat, which can be in the form of doling out extra money, to higher percentages of commissions to organising foreign junkets for their star performers.

ING Life Insurance has launched a special module for its consistent performers where by advisers who perform consistently for two years, will be able to have a team of advisors reporting to them and then they are designated as Financial Consultants.

Alternate avenues

These days banking institutions have also become very proactive in selling insurance; since it is high profit earning franchise or them. So there is channel, which is called Banc assurance channel in which banks have tie-ups with specific life insurance companies and they sell the insurance products of those companies with which they have a tie up with. The modus operandi with which the banc assurance channel works is that insurance companies give dedicated resources to the bank, and they use the database of the account holders of the bank to further life insurance proposition to them.

Another model on which the life insurance companies work these days is called the alternate model. In this model the insurance companies give franchise to individual units.

“It is a high profit-sharing model in which the salary of the resource persons is borne by the insurance companies and the profits generated in lieu of the sales of insurance products is shared between the company and the franchisee holder,” quips Sharat Kapoor, senior executive with a leading life insurance company.

The days ahead

The Indian Insurance sector is a colossal one and is growing at the rate of 15-20 per cent Insurance adds to about 6 per cent of India's GDP. A well-developed and evolved insurance sector is a boon for economic development as it provides long-term funds for infrastructure development at the same time strengthening the risk taking ability of the country." India with its huge population of over1.2 billion and poor coverage of only 35 per cent of insurable potential has a long way to go” says Dr Pritam, former Executive Director with Life Insurance Corporation of India.

Opportunities galore

The advent of globalisation has given rise to competition amongst the life insurance players. With as many as 23 Life insurance companies operating in India, the consumer has myriad choices to fill his product portfolio. Similarly, when these companies operate in India, they require human resources to operate which leads to employmentgeneration. More jobs on offer result in high per capita income, which will lead to the overall development of country.

With an annual growth rate of 15-20 per cent and the largest number of life insurance policies in force, the potential of life insurance industry in India is huge. Foreign companies that are interested in FDI have deeper pockets compared to the relatively small Indian insurance companies. They bring with themselves the 'best practices' distilled through years of rich experience that they have had in this industry. This augurs well for the insurance sector because the deep pockets and ‘best practices' of foreign partners can be dovetailed with the awareness of the Indian psyche and marketing experience, of their Indian counterparts to create a synergy, which can increase the reach of insurance in India making it more egalitarian. All these companies when the set up their Joint Ventures in India they need educated human resources to work for them. This reduces the white collared unemployment.

Insurance is one industry, which is highly manpower centric, so these companies serve as high employment generation centres. With India being an agrarian set up, and not very vastly urbanised, in order to shore up their revenues the companies have given a bigger thrust on rural penetration. Most of the life insurance organisations are setting up more and more offices in rural India and thus, generating employment avenues for the rural youth. With this trend, rural youth also has a chance to get an exposure to the Corporate Culture. Thus when they move to other cities for better prospects this exposure comes handy for them. (Courtesy: The Tribune)
  Charity begins at home  
  By Anand Muttungal

THE social teachings of Jesus Christ have influenced millions around the world. Members of the Catholic Church have responded well to this clarion call to develop the world from a socio-economic point of view based on justice and peace.

The words of Christ teach us: "He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none, and he who has food let him do likewise." (Luke 3:11). In the Gospel of Mathew, Lord Jesus makes it clearer by saying, "I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me." His command to extend help to everyone is being observed strictly.

The Indian Catholic Church officially began to take up social development projects in 1962 through Carithas India, its social apostolate organisation. The Catholic Church extends assistance regardless of caste, class and creed. It is involved in humanitarian assistance in calamities, rehabilitation programmes, empowerment of women and children, restoration of human rights, economic empowerment programmes, gender equality programmes, natural and human resource management, education of technologies to farmers, and other social activities. The Church also has a large network of health services in rural areas.

Carithas India invests around Rs 70 crore every year, through various partners, of which 10 per cent is collected from Catholic lay members in India. However, economically poor Catholics are not given preference in these projects.

The dioceses and religious congregations through their own sources invest another Rs 30 crore. Each diocese and religious congregation sets apart around 500 personnel for this work. The whole idea of spending so much money and engaging so many hands is no doubt for the development of the country. A good gesture indeed!

I have travelled through many parts of the country and have conversed with as many people as possible. The plight of economically marginalised Christians, to my surprise, has not become any better, despite the fact that they constitute a large chunk of the Christian population. However, the social apostolate of the Church in India appears to be immune to this stark reality and has not come out with any concrete programme to uplift socially deprived Christians and bring them into the mainstream.

Can the Church wash off its responsibility towards the deprived section of our (Christian) community with the argument that we receive funds for non-religious works? Can it continue to ignore their plea for help to stand up and join the mainstream of life? How long will the Church shut its doors to them?

I recently refused to be a member of a church-run social work core group as the social development projects had no programme to cover my economically backward (Christian) brothers and sisters. My argument is simple: If the Church pumps in huge amounts of money and engages its trained manpower, especially those who have taken a vow to safeguard the interests of the Catholic Church, then a major share must be for the economically poor belonging to Lord Jesus. It should not be seen as charity, but their right as disciples of Christ Jesus.

I fight with tooth and nail against the Madhya Pradesh Government's proposal to bring about the Christian Property Regulation Act. I have conversed with hundreds of Catholic, non-Catholic and non-Christians on this matter. A majority of them support the bill because of insignificant care given by the Church to the economically poor Catholics and Christians. It is high time the Catholic Church in India brings out a clear policy on its social apostolate, preferential option to poor Catholics, Christians and lower middle class Catholics.

It's time we reflected on this great saying: Charity begins at home.
  Success sutra  
By I.M. Soni

IF your constant refrain is, "I can't. It can't be done. I do not have the luck except of the bad kind. Things always go the way opposite I want", then you are inflicting a psychological injury on your own self. You are crippling your chances of a bright career and life.

This negative trend gets so deeply sunk into your personality that failure, gloom and self-disapproval become an integral part of your whole being.

However, this need not be so. Negative can give way to positive. It is easy because both are required thought patterns. You are not born a negative. You can now become a positive. Learn from the photographer. He develops negatives into positives. Be your own photographer!

In simple words, the negative and destructive or disintegrating forces can be forced out, and replaced with new and constructive ones, which re-build your personality.

Negative thinking generates a circle that goes on re-cycling emotional toxins. Regrets, self-distrust, anticipation of failures, creeping tears build an invisible horror edifice of inside you.

Each time you become a little more like what you dread like being, you forge one more link to the vicious chain.

If it is true of negative thoughts, it is also true of positive ones. Positives begin to reverse the negatives, just as glimmers of light dispel thickness of darkness. One solid positive thought lays the foundation of a cheerful edifice.

The antidotes for poisons of failure and false ambition exist in one's own mind. Replace them.

Experiments made by Elmer C Gates have shown that depressing emotions generate injurious compounds. Agreeable emotions generate chemical compounds that stimulate cells to generate energy.

"For each bad emotion", says Gates, "there is a corresponding chemical change in the tissues of the body. Every good emotion makes a life-promoting change. Every thought, which enters the mind, is registered in the brain by a change in structure of its cells. The change is a physical change more or less permanent".

You can build your own mind by calling up pleasant memories and ideas. Summon feelings of benevolence and unselfishness. Heaven and hell exist in your own mind!

Devote time to these emotional gymnastics. At the end of a month you will find the change in yourself that will be apparent in your actions and thoughts.

Anger, for example, changes the chemical properties of the saliva to a poison dangerous to life. Sudden and violent emotions can weaken the heart in a few hours, and can cause imbecility, even death.

"Suppose half a dozen men are there in a room", says Professor Gates; "one of them feels depressed, another remorseful, another ill-tempered, another jealous, another cheerful, another benevolent. Samples of their perspiration are placed in the hands of the psychophysicist. Under his examination, they reveal all those emotional conditions distinctly and unmistakably.

Strong emotion causes vomiting. Extreme anger or fright may produce jaundice. A violent fit of rage has caused apoplexy and death. Indeed. A single night of mental agony has wrecked a life.

Use emotional chemistry to neutralise a thought with the opposite thought, just as an acid is neutralised by an alkaline antidote.

Harmony neutralises discord. The health thought will antidote the ailing, sick thought. You cannot smile and scowl at the same time.

Replace "I am ailing. I am dying" with "I am well and kicking. I am growing in vitality. Why should I nurse death thoughts?" Nothing exhausts life as hatred, jealousy and revenge.

Those who nurse these passions are worn out; look haggard, even before they have reached middle age. They are premature fossils of life.

If you have a fever, you go to a physician for an antidote, but when jealousy or hatred is raging within, you suffer until the fever gradually wears itself out, not knowing that by an application of love, which would quickly antidote it, you could easily have avoided suffering and the wear and tear of the system.

You cannot drive darkness out of a room. Let in the light and the darkness flees. The way to get rid of failure is to flood the mind with success.

Vijaya, a struggling journalist has acquired the habit of refreshing her mind even in the most trying and exacting conditions. Knowing the power of mental images to renew the mind, she has learned to eliminate all those that suggest dark, unfortunate images, by dwelling on their opposites -- those that bring beautiful, cheerful, uplifting, encouraging pictures to her mind.

Through the magic of chemistry, she has been able to maintain serenity and balance that endear her to all who know her.

In the past, you have been pilling one gloomy thought on another and have built a solid wall. Now, reverse the process.

As a starter, use Emil Coue's famous: "every day in every way, I am getting better and better". Such a positive affirmation repeated loudly echoes in your mind, driving out the doubts, your traitors.

You can adopt a multi-dimensional approach -- personal, significance, work, people, life.

If you look upon yourself as worthless, a waif afloat on the water of life, you will reflect it in your words and actions. If you exhibit a bright image, confident words and self-assured behaviour, it will manifest in your life.

Negative thinking hinges on a feeling of inferiority and worthlessness just as positive thinking on personal worth. It is important to have a feeling of personal significance. You are unique as individual.

Positive thinking is a way of looking at life. Sometimes, a negative approach springs from wanting to do things you are not fit enough to do. You misfire.

There must be self-acceptance in ample measure. Your real potential may be unexplored but you go about exploring what really does not belong to you. This happens when you try to be someone other than your own self.

A classmate of mine desperately tried to become like me. But his efforts were wasted because he was not trying to explore and realise his own potential. He was trying to imitate me. This happens to many because they nurse delusions about themselves either by overestimating or underestimating themselves.

How do you look at your work? Do you look upon it as a necessary evil? If so, then a current of gloom flows in your thinking. You go about life as a lost soul. But positive thinking and belief in self will keep the frustrations of failure out of your life and career. (Courtesy: The Tribune)
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