Monday, August 7, 2017

Top 10 Countries with the Safest Roads

Across the world, someone is killed on the roads once every 30 seconds. And for every death, there are at least 20 injuries every 30 seconds. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, pedestrians and drivers are much more likely to die on roads in poorer countries. Approximately 752 pedestrians die on the road every day, and 786 motorcyclists die every day in accidents globally.

Statistics from the World Bank group, Transportation for Development, are alarming, too. Less developed countries have a higher number of road fatalities, which is largely due to poor infrastructure, worse vehicle safety standards, and inadequate driving laws. The cheapest vehicles sold in first-world countries are also much safer than those sold in developing countries, due to varying safety standards.

Here’s a list of the top 10 safest countries to drive in based on the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety interactive map. We hope India will make it to the list very soon!

10. Norway

Norway is 10th on the list with 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people. According to the WHO estimates, there were 192 total road deaths in Norway throughout 2015. The WHO deems Norway’s helmet laws inadequate, as well.

9. Spain

Spain lands in the No. 9 spot with 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The WHO estimates report 1,730 total road deaths in Spain throughout 2015. The WHO deems Spain’s drunk driving laws inadequate, according to the report.

8. Singapore/Israel

Singapore and Israel tie for No. 8 on the list. Singapore estimates indicated 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people, according to the WHO. Israel also reported 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people. The report indicates 197 estimated total road deaths throughout 2015. The WHO report also deemed Singapore’s drunk driving, speed, and child seat laws inadequate.

7. Maldives/Denmark

Denmark and The Republic of Maldives tie for rank No. 7 on the list. The WHO reports just 3.5 road deaths per 100,000 people for both Denmark and Maldives, with Denmark reportedly experiencing 196 total road deaths throughout 2015.

6. Netherlands

Netherlands takes the No. 5 spot with 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2015, WHO estimates show Netherlands had 574 road deaths.

5. Switzerland

Switzerland is fourth on the list with 3.3 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. Switzerland had an estimated 269 total road deaths in 2015.

4. San Marino

The microstate of San Marino, located in Italy, takes the number four spot with only 3.2 road deaths per 100,000 people, and with just one total road death reported in 2015.

3. United Kingdom/Kiribati

There are two countries tied for third on the list. The more notable one being the United Kingdom, with 2.9 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 1,827 deaths total throughout 2015. The second country tied for third is the tiny island nation of Kiribati, which is also tied at 2.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, with just 3 total road deaths occurring throughout 2015

2. Sweden

Sweden is the second safest driving country in the world with a ratio of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 272 total road deaths throughout 2015. According to the WHO, this is due to strict drunk driving laws and high vehicle safety standards.

1. Micronesia

According to the WHO report, the Federated States of Micronesia has the safest roads on the planet, with 1.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, and only 2 total road deaths throughout 2015.

- B. John Bosco

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Priceless Gift Of Life!

Robin O’Reilly of South Africa started donating blood in 1965 when he had just finished school, and has had a passion for it ever since. On Tuesday, June 6, he donated for the 325th time! A record of sorts.

Robin is turning 70 this November. “I feel good after donating – it’s like a detox for the blood. Also, there are plenty of people out there in need of blood and this is my way of helping,” he says.

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors like Robin for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters.

However, in many countries, demand exceeds supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020.

Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.

The objectives of 2017 World Blood Donor Day include:

  • thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood and highlight the theme of blood connecting us all
  • create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health
  • promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood
  • focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply
  • persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.
  • of the 112.5 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 19% of the world’s population.

In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.

Based on samples of 1000 people, the blood donation rate is 32.1 donations in high-income countries, 14.9 donations in upper-middle-income countries, 7.8 donations in lower-middle-income countries and 4.6 donations in low-income countries.

We would like to call on all Indians to donate blood. So many people in life-threatening situations require blood. One simple action can make a huge difference. For the donor, it’s a few minutes every 56 days. For the recipient, it’s helping them live so they can create a lifetime of memories. Become a donor, it’s not just blood. It’s saving a nation.

- B. John Bosco

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A brief history of insurance!

Insurance is an incredibly interesting topic, especially when you realize just how old this form of protection really is. We had thought it wasn’t any older than a couple of hundred years, but we couldn’t be more wrong.

It actually has a history stretching back far into the past, with the earliest known versions of it being found in 3000-2000 BC. Insurance has been around so long it’s even found inscribed on the Code of Hammurabi, the first written laws. Imagine that! It even predated what was considered the official foundation of law, that’s some history.

Insurance, as we think of it in the modern age, came into existence sometime around the Great Fire of London, where the devastation that took place brought about the idea of property insurance. While insurance had up to this point been considered some kind of convenience, it was now clear to the inhabitants of London that insurance was something that could protect a family fortune, and indeed an entire estate in the event of disaster.

From there sprang all the forms of insurance we know today, including underwriting ventures in the event of failure (common in the age of sailing ships and questionable seas), to car insurance and life insurance. We even have an Insurance Awareness Day on June 28. It celebrates the history and necessity of this fantastic invention, and encourages people to understand the important role it can play in their lives.

Interestingly, the 'unsinkable' Titanic was insured for a mind-boggling $10 million by Lloyd's! It was considered a prestigious risk, with cover for the hull alone standing at $1.4 m – around $100 million in today’s money. Numerous Lloyd’s syndicates pitched in, covering amounts ranging from £10,000 to £75,000.

Despite the high levels of claims arising from the tragedy, insurers paid out in full within 30 days.

In India, insurance has an even deeper-rooted history. Insurance in various forms has been mentioned in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmashastra) and Kautilya (Arthashastra). The fundamental basis of the historical reference to insurance in these ancient Indian texts is the same i.e. pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. The early references to Insurance in these texts have reference to marine trade loans and carriers' contracts.

Insurance in its current form has its history dating back until 1818, when Oriental Life Insurance Company was started by Anita Bhavsar in Kolkata to cater to the needs of European community. The pre-independence era in India saw discrimination between the lives of foreigners (English) and Indians with higher premiums being charged for the latter. In 1870, Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society became the first Indian insurer.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, many insurance companies were founded. In 1912, the Life Insurance Companies Act and the Provident Fund Act were passed to regulate the insurance business. The Life Insurance Companies Act, 1912 made it necessary that the premium-rate tables and periodical valuations of companies should be certified by an actuary. However, the disparity still existed as discrimination between Indian and foreign companies. The oldest existing insurance company in India is the National Insurance Company, which was founded in 1906, and is still in business.

The Government of India issued an Ordinance on 19 January 1956 nationalising the Life Insurance sector and Life Insurance Corporation came into existence in the same year. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) absorbed 154 Indian, 16 non-Indian insurers as also 75 provident societies—245 Indian and foreign insurers in all. In 1972 with the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act was passed by the Indian Parliament, and consequently, General Insurance business was nationalized with effect from 1 January 1973. 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies, namely National Insurance Company Ltd., the New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and the United India Insurance Company Ltd. The General Insurance Corporation of India was incorporated as a company in 1971 and it opened for business in 1973.

The LIC had monopoly till the late 90s when the Insurance sector was reopened to the private sector. Before that, the industry consisted of only two state insurers: Life Insurers (Life Insurance Corporation of India, LIC) and General Insurers (General Insurance Corporation of India, GIC).

- B. John Bosco

Monday, July 10, 2017

Auto theft & insurance

What's worse than experiencing auto theft? Finding out your car insurance policy doesn't fully cover your loss or out-of-pocket expenses.

A vehicle theft occurs at least twice each minute even in highly developed countries. Fewer vehicles are stolen by that legendary joy-riding teen than by pros who drive your car onto a freighter heading overseas, or to a chop shop to cannibalize it for parts.

Here are some tips on both vehicle theft prevention and what to do if your car is stolen or in an accident.

Don't think manufacturer-installed vehicle theft protection is enough. It can be disabled by experienced and determined thieves, who also know how to unlock a Club and similar devices. Aftermarket vehicle anti-theft systems offer a second line of protection as they are usually sophisticated and are worth paying a professional to install.

Don't think your old clunker is safer than a shiny new model, or that a luxury sedan is more attractive to thieves than a less expensive model. Older vehicles are usually stolen for their parts, which are no longer being manufactured; newer cars are stolen for their popularity. In recent years, cars that have been glamorized in pop culture, have made it on many "most stolen" lists.

Contact police immediately, preferably while still at the scene of the crime. Speed is essential to recovering stolen cars, since any delay means your car is more likely to be in a chop shop or driven out of town. Of course you know the make, color and model of your car, but you also should know the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Keep a copy of those identifying numbers and your insurance card in your wallet, and keep a photocopy of your registration and insurance card at home, so you can provide information quickly to both law enforcement and insurance claims agents.

Don't assume your insurance covers you. Take a close look at your policy to see if you are covered for a replacement rental car if your car is stolen, and if there's a waiting period before you're allowed to rent a car. Many people don't elect the rental car coverage, but it costs only a few extra bucks a month. A year's worth of replacement rental coverage usually costs less than renting a car for a day or two, so it's a good deal.

Make sure you have roadside assistance. Your insurance company will likely offer this for a few more rupees per term, or you can go through even your automaker. Be sure to research the details of the coverage. For example, if your car is broken into and disabled, are you covered for a tow to any mechanic, or only a dealer's service shop? Are both towing and labor costs covered?

Despite the bells, whistles and computer chips of today's technological vehicle theft-prevention devices, the most important theft deterrents are simple ones. Park in well-lit areas. If you park in a lot, resist the temptation to park near the exit, because it makes your vehicle a more likely target for thieves. Interestingly, more than one-third of all vehicle thefts occur at a home or residence in many countries including the US. So always lock your car, even in your own driveway.

- B. John Bosco

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Term Plan Can Deliver Priceless Advantages In Your Family's Darkest Hour!

Term Insurance is the most basic form of life cover and is a fixed-term contract between you and the insurance company wherein you pay regular premiums and the company agrees to pay your nominee.

Getting a Term Insurance is extremely important because in case of a tragedy during the policy term, the policy payment will financially protect your family and help them maintain their lifestyle & take care of liabilities in the form of loans etc.

Do note that you may select a term plan variant with monthly income along with the lump sum payout, further helping your family with day-to-day expenses. Moreover, Term Plans can be extended to include disability & death due to accidents by opting for riders.

Let's also debunk some myths about term insurance. First and foremost, term insurance is not a waste of money or unaffordable.

For most individuals, term insurance premium would cost less than an egg daily. A term plan is a pure protection plan and it offers no maturity benefits, but consider the priceless benefits and "peace of mind" that comes from knowing you have taken a step that will financially protect your family even if you are no longer around. Along with the base cover, you can opt for additional coverage for accident, disability and disease with riders. Add to it the tax exemptions you get for the premium amount and this make it even more attractive.

Some term plans offer the option for monthly income along with lumpsum payout, covering immediate as well as day-to-day expenses, making term plans more comprehensive.

A Term Plan will financially safeguard your family against all financial liabilities along with an option to opt for day-to-day expenses cover. Anyone from 18 years till the specific eligible age can opt for a life cover. Experts recommend that you should get life insurance early on in life, as you start working, to avail the benefits of lower premium and the policy term should ideally cover your working years, understanding the fact that eventually, at some stage in life, you would need to plan for your family's financial security, even in your absence.

Some people have a mistaken notion that buying Term Insurance Online is a complicated process. In reality, buying term plans online is a stroll in the park and can be done in minutes on a site like

A term insurance is particularly relevant if you are the sole breadwinner of the family. In your absence, your family's financial security could be seriously hit. As the only earning member, all the current household expenses and your family's future goals are dependent on your ability to continue earning. In case of your untimely death, the income would stop, leading to an uncomfortable situation for your family. You can opt for a term plan with monthly income option that pays a lump sum amount as well as monthly payouts for 10 years to your family to cover the day-to-day expenses and continue to maintain their lifestyle.

Experts insist that a term plan is a definite requirement if you are servicing a loan or any other liability. Consider you have availed a Rs. 1 crore home loan and tragedy strikes. How will your family continue to pay the EMIs? This is where a term plan with a Rs. 2 crore life cover can help your family pay off the Rs. 1 crore liability and still maintain their lifestyle with the other Rs 1 crore.

"The “term” in a term insurance plan also lends flexibility. Continuing with the above case, if the tenure for the outstanding loan is 15 years, you can opt to discontinue the policy after the liability has been settled. However, you should ideally continue for a tenure that is at least equal to the no. of years left before retirement, to cover for your income," according to an well-known insurance company.

To summarize, a term insurance plan can be the reliable safety net you are looking for. A term insurance policy ensures your family is well taken care of financially in case of your sudden demise. You pay a small premium every year for a certain period of time to buy a ‘life cover’, and if you pass away during this time, your family is paid the amount promised to you by your insurer. PolicyNation understand that everyone’s needs differ, which is why you can select from a broad range of term plans from multiple companies. Have a look at your options and choose the one that fits the bill.

- B. John Bosco

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Majority of Indians have no health insurance

In fact, 76% of Indians do not have health insurance! This is as per data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, IRDA. Grim news indeed! Add to that, India has one of the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures in the world. Government contribution to insurance stands at roughly 32%, as opposed to 83.5% in the UK.

The high out-of-pocket expenses in India stem from the fact that most Indians do not have health insurance. Which is why it's important to ensure that you and your family are adequately covered with insurance from a trustworthy and credible source. Today it's possible to compare, select and buy the ideal insurance in minutes online.

Meanwhile, rising population, inadequate resources and insurance are key roadblocks for India’s healthcare industry, according to a report from IndiaSpend, the country’s first data journalism initiative.

On the population front, the news is not very rosy either. India has the world’s second-largest population, rising from 760 million in 1985 to an estimated 1.3 billion in 2015. Migrants from rural areas continue to flock to urban settlements; roughly 32% of them inhabiting cities–although estimates of this migration vary–that are already bursting at the seams.

India’s existing infrastructure is just not enough to cater to the growing demand for affordable quality health care, say experts from IndiaSpend (

While the private sector dominates healthcare delivery across the country, a majority of the population living below the poverty line (BPL)–the ability to spend Rs 47 per day in urban areas, Rs 32 per day in rural areas–continues to rely on the under-financed and short-staffed public sector for its healthcare needs, as a result of which their healthcare needs remain unmet.

Moreover, the majority of healthcare professionals happen to be concentrated around urban areas where consumers have higher paying power, leaving rural areas underserved.

India meets the global average in number of physicians, but 74% of India’s doctors cater to a third of the urban population, or no more than 442 million people, according to a KPMG report.

India compares unfavourably with China and the US in number of hospital beds and nurses. The country is 81% short of specialists at rural community health centres (CHCs), and the private sector accounts for 63% of hospital beds, according to Indian government health and family welfare statistics.

The rural healthcare infrastructure is three-tiered and includes a sub-center, primary health center (PHC) and CHC. Indian PHCs are short of more than 3,000 doctors, with the shortage up by 200% over the last 10 years to 27,421, as reported in 2016.

There are, however, potential catalysts to improve the quality of healthcare in India. IndiaSpend has identified three: The government, information technology and innovation

The Union Budget 2017–18 includes measures to boost rural development, infrastructure and macroeconomic stability, and although the health budget has been increased 27%, allocations could have been matched more holistically with the government’s ambitions, particularly when considering adjustment against inflation and new health-program announcements.

Analysts argue that the national insurance scheme (the Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Yojana) is a minor improvement on the existing one, with the annual limit per family increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000, with an additional “top-up” of Rs 30,000 for senior citizens. IndiaSpend estimates suggest that enrolling all BPL families in the country in health-insurance programmes would cost anywhere from Rs 2,460 to Rs 3,350 crore, or less than the cost of two French Rafale fighters.

Information Technology (IT) is set to play a big role with IT applications being used for social- sector schemes on a large scale. Beneficiaries are issued a biometric-enabled smart card containing their fingerprints and photographs. Hospitals empaneled under the government insurance scheme are IT enabled and connected to servers in districts. Beneficiaries can use a smart card that allows them to access health services in any empaneled hospital across India.

Additionally, the ministry of health and family welfare launched several new computer and mobile-phone based e-health and m-health initiatives on World Health Day in 2016. These include the Swastha Bharat mobile application for information on diseases, symptoms, treatment, health alerts and tips; ANMOL-ANM online tablet application for health workers, e-RaktKosh (a blood-bank management information system) and India Fights Dengue.

Individual states are adopting technology to support health-insurance schemes. For instance, Remedinet Technology (India’s first completely electronic cashless health insurance claims processing network) has been signed on as the technology partner for the Karnataka Government’s recently announced cashless health insurance schemes, according to IndiaSpend.

India added 450 million people over the 25 years to 2016, a period during which the proportion of people living in poverty fell by half. This period of rising prosperity has been marked by a “dual-disease burden”, a continuing rise in communicable diseases and a spurt in non-communicable or “lifestyle” diseases, which accounted for half of all deaths in 2015, from 42% in 2001-03.

The result of this disease burden on a growing and ageing population, economic development and increasing health awareness is a healthcare industry that has grown to $81.3 billion (Rs 54,086 lakh crore) in 2013 and is now projected to grow by 17% (compounded annual growth rate, or CAGR) by 2020, up from 11% in 1990, IndiaSpend added.

Just visit to experience the ease, convenience and price advantage of online health insurance.

- B. John Bosco

Monday, June 5, 2017

World Environment Day reconnects you to nature

Just go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too.

Connecting people to nature is the theme for 2017. From your backyard to your favorite park, nature is closer than you think. It’s time to get out and enjoy it.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

Our personal transportation choices have a huge impact on air quality. What we drive and how we drive impacts the environment. Motor vehicles give off more than half of all carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions in many cities. These emissions, including microscopic particles, can contribute to breathing and heart problems along with an elevated risk of cancer.

Since most pollution from cars and trucks is due to the burning of fuel, you can reduce pollution from these sources by burning less fuel, burning fuel cleaner and burning cleaner fuel.

  • Next time you purchase a vehicle, buy the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets your average daily needs. 
  • Use transit and car- or van-pool as often as you can. Doing so three times a week can reduce your fuel consumption up to 50%.
  • Bike or walk to avoid fuel use entirely.
  • Telecommute (working from a home-based location via phone or Internet) to reduce driving
  • Minimize driving by working and playing closer to home.
  • Plan errands to avoid unnecessary driving.
  • Accelerate gradually — a smooth start uses less fuel
  • Burn fuel cleaner

Here's another set of guidelines from experts.

  • Keep your vehicle well-tuned and tires inflated properly to reduce exhaust emissions.
  • Combine errands into one trip — cars pollute less when they are warmed up.
  • Avoid idling — idling exhaust contains more pollutants than running exhaust.
  • If you purchase a new car, look for a low emission vehicle or LEV (see under-hood sticker) 
  • Low-sulfur gasoline reduces pollutants by 10-15%
  • 85% ethanol fuel (E85) can be used in flexible fuel vehicles.
  • Other alternative transportation fuels such as natural gas or bio-diesel are most practical for fleets of vehicles.

In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being.

For example, the world’s oceans, forests and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; farmers and fisher-folk harness nature on land and under water to provide us with food; scientists develop medicines using genetic material drawn from the millions of species that make up Earth’s astounding biological diversity.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate full well their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.

Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least until they become scarce. However, economists are developing ways to measure the multi-trillion-dollar worth of many so-called ‘ecosystem services’, from insects pollinating fruit trees in the orchards of California to the leisure, health and spiritual benefits of a hike up a Himalayan valley.

Wherever you are, you could vow to pick up 10 (or 100) pieces of trash, or take inspiration from the citizens of Mumbai and organize a mass beach clean-up.

In the age of asphalt and smartphones and among the distractions of modern life, connections with nature can be fleeting. But with your help, we can make it clearer than ever that we need harmony between humanity and nature so that both are able to thrive.

- B. John Bosco

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Exercise Makes You Younger at the Cellular Level

The more exercise people get, the less their cells appear to age. In a new study in Preventive Medicine, people who exercised the most had biological aging markers that appeared nine years younger than those who were sedentary.

Researchers looked at the telomeres from nearly 6,000 adults enrolled in a multi-year survey run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People were asked what physical activities they had done in the past month and how vigorously they did them. They also provided DNA samples, from which the researchers measured telomere length.

Telomeres, the protein caps on the ends of human chromosomes, are markers of aging and overall health. Every time a cell replicates, a tiny bit of telomere is lost, so they get shorter with age. But they shrink faster in some people than in others, explains study author Larry Tucker, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University.

“We know that, in general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner and are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases,” says Tucker. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a very good index of biological aging.”

After adjusting for smoking, obesity, alcohol use, gender, race and other factors, Tucker found in his study that people who exercised the most had significantly longer telomeres than those who were sedentary. The most sedentary people had 140 fewer base pairs of DNA at the ends of their telomeres, compared to the most active: a difference of about nine years of cellular aging, he says.

To qualify as top-tier exercisers, people had to do the equivalent of at least 30-40 minutes of jogging a day five days a week. Doing less was also linked to aging benefits, but they were not as powerful. People who did vigorous exercise had telomeres that signaled about seven fewer years of biological aging, compared to people who did moderate levels of activity.

Tucker says he was surprised to see so big of a difference between moderate and high levels of exercise. “Moderate exercise was still valuable and it had some benefit, but it was really those high levels of physical activity that made the real difference,” says Tucker. The top exercisers were vigorously working out 150 to 200 minutes a week, or engaging in light- to moderate-intensity activity for longer periods. Research continues to suggest that more exercise means deeper reductions in risk for chronic disease, to a certain point.

The current study relied on self-reports about physical activity and was only able to show an association—not a cause-and-effect relationship—between exercise amount and telomere length. It wasn’t able to account for factors like depression, stress, sleep disturbances and dietary practices that could affect exercise habits, genetic changes, or both.

But a link between physical activity and cellular aging makes sense, says Tucker. Experts believe that telomere length may be linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which exercise has been shown to ease over time.

While there’s no guarantee that people with longer telomeres will live longer, healthier lives, the odds may be in their favor, says Tucker. “We all know people who seem younger than their actual age,” he says. “We know exercise can help with that, and now we know that part of that may be because of its effect on our telomeres.”

- B. John Bosco

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017

The priceless benefits of a No Tobacco World!

Tobacco – a threat to development is the theme of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2017. 

Every year, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The stats make very depressing reading. More than 7 million deaths from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action. Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.

Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care. Some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.

All countries benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies. The aim of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its 17 global goals, is to ensure that "no one is left behind."

In addition to saving lives and reducing health inequalities, comprehensive tobacco control contains the adverse environmental impact of tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption.

Tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth, and combat climate change. Increasing taxes on tobacco products can also be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

It is not only governments who can step up tobacco control efforts: people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world. People can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can quit the habit, or seek help in doing so, which will in turn protect their health as well as people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members and friends. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food, healthcare and education.

Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.

It is the leading preventable cause of death in many countries including India. Cigarette smoking causes lakhs of deaths each year in our country. 

Smoking and Increased Health Risks

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Estimates show smoking increases the risk:
  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times1
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times
  • Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).

  • Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in India.
  • Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.
  • Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form.

Smoking and Respiratory Disease
  • Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.
  • Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
  • If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
  • Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
Smoking and Cancer

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:
  • Bladder
  • Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
  • Cervix
  • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney and ureter
  • Larynx
  • Liver
  • Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Trachea, bronchus, and lung
  • Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.

Smoking and Other Health Risks

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health.
  • Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. It can also affect her baby’s health before and after birth. Smoking increases risks for:1,2,5
  • Preterm (early) delivery
  • Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Orofacial clefts in infants
  • Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage.
  • Smoking can affect bone health.
  • Women past childbearing years who smoke have weaker bones than women who never smoked. 
  • They are also at greater risk for broken bones.
  • Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.

Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens that makes it hard for you to see). It can also cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is damage to a small spot near the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision. Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers. Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body, including inflammation and decreased immune function. Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

Quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
Within 2 to 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a nonsmoker’s.
If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.

Take action. Quit smoking!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

All variants of 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire feature dual airbags for better safety

Maruti Suzuki has launched the all-new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire at Rs 5.45 lakh, ex-Delhi on May 16. There are a total of eight variants of the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire, including the newly added top-end Z+ variants with AGS gearbox as option from the ‘V’ variant onwards. There are six colours, including Oxford Blue, Sherwood Brown and Gallant Red which make an appearance for the first time.
To be manufactured exclusively at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant for now, prices for the new Dzire go all the way up to Rs 9.41 lakh for the top (ZDi+ AGS) model.

All variants of the whole new Dzire are built on the Suzuki HEARTECT platform, with dual airbags and much more just so you sail safely through every journey.

One of the major changes in the new Dzire is the fact that safety features like dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist now come as standard across variants, so unlike the previous-gen Dzire, there are no 'Option' trims on offer and the car primarily comes in four variants, for both the petrol and diesel models - Lxi/LDi, VXi/VDi, ZXi/ZDi, and ZXi+/ZDi+.

Inside, the new-gen Dzire gets a more premium cabin that is more appealing than the previous model. This can be seen with the quality of plastics and the upholstery. The overall cabin sound insulation is much better. The refinement of the 1.2-litre K-Series engine, which has always been a refined unit, has been upped further with new tuning. The AMT unit too has been improved that we had also experienced in the Maruti Suzuki Ignis.

The intermittent time between the shifts have been reduced significantly, making the transmission smoother as well as more responsive than before. The transmission has its benefits while driving in the city as well on highways. The same will be felt in the diesel AMT as well considering that Maruti Suzuki is believed to have updated the AMT software for their new-age offerings.

Overall, the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire feels more premium, the engine and the AMT units has been refined further, and the NVH levels have been significantly improved. The quality, fit and finish of the plastics as well as the switchgear are similar to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. The all-new Maruti Suzuki Dzire will be sold through the company’s regular dealerships but not through the more premium Nexa distribution network. The company is already positive about the compact sedan as it is one of the bestselling sedans for Maruti Suzuki. The carmaker is expecting huge volumes for the same.

While sales of compact sedans have seen a slow down, interest in the segment is still very much alive. The Dzire has been the segment leader with sales of over 1.38 million cars sold so far and the new third-generation Maruti Suzuki Dzire has garnered a lot of attention with bookings crossing 33,000 at the time of launch on May 16.

C.V. Raman, executive director (engg) at Maruti Suzuki India, said, "We don't see a dip, numbers are growing for us, and I think a sedan today still has that appeal to a customer. Yes, there has been growth for compact SUVs, but I think there will be space for all."

Official bookings for the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire began on May 5, at an initial down payment of Rs 11,000. Dealer sources say that there is a waiting period of 8-10 weeks for the new Dzire’s manual transmission models, while the AGS (automated manual transmission) cars can be delivered within four-five weeks.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Will GST prove to be a game changer for the auto sector?

For the automotive industry, the Goods & Services Tax (GST) has been viewed as one of the most important policy reforms. After much wait, the new tax is likely to get implemented from July 1. However, there is still some confusion around the new tax which need to be clarified to help the industry stakeholders understand what it has in store for them.

GST will be positive for the automotive sector because of the efficiency and removal of cascading that is expected with GST, says Harishanker Subramaniam, national leader - indirect tax, Ernst & Young.

And, to give you an example, in an automobile sector, a car is manufactured in a particular state and generally, 80 per cent of these cars are sold to states outside the state of manufacture to dealers outside the state. So the two per cent Central Sales Tax (CST) that they pay will not be there tomorrow because hopefully origin tax is not there.

Even the two per cent CST will be an integrated GST (IGST) which will be fully creditable by the dealer when he sells the car in the other state. And even from a procurement point of view, if there are interstate procurement we suffer today at 2 per cent CST which is a cost to the manufacturer, that also will not happen because those interstate procurements will have an IGST in it which is again available as a full credit to the manufacturer if the credit rules are simple and easy.

The second efficiency could be also on the input side. A bigger, more easy credit mechanism so that all the taxes on the input side, whether it is input services, whether it is capital goods, whether it is manufactured products, are set off against the output liability of GST.

One other important fact is that many car manufacturers which generally have a very large investment, enjoy today state incentives. The incentives are there in many manufacturing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat & Tamil Nadu.

So, one of the facts that the auto manufacturers have to keep in mind is that these state incentives are based on the current value added tax (VAT) and CST that they pay. Tomorrow with CST going away, the states will have to make do these commitments of incentives on the basis of whatever they collect under the GST regime. So, that is another important fact that the auto manufacturers have to keep in mind that they will have to go and renegotiate those memorandums of understanding (MoU) that they have with the states.

The second fact is today, in the car industry the small cars have a differential treatment in excise depending on engine displacement and the size That is another factor that will come into play. Will those differences exist in the new GST regime? Will they all fall under a standard rate of 17-18 per cent if you take the reference of the current CEA report or will there be a lower rate for small cars? This is another question that comes to be debated because then the efficiency and the quantum will depend on what rates they fall in.

So does this effectively mean a lower tax burden for automobile companies? Some of which would go towards their bottom line and some maybe could get passed on to consumers or not at all?

Purely on efficiency, there should be a benefit to an auto manufacturer, notes Subramaniam of E & Y.

With no embedded tax costs on inter-state movement of goods and a shift in the point of taxation to the ultimate consumer under GST, businesses would have enhanced flexibility to re-design their supply chains. Moreover, importer-distributors as well as domestic automobile dealers should be able to claim credit of GST paid on all business procurement of goods and services, as opposed to the current scenario, where they cannot claim a credit for the Excise duty paid on capital assets or Service tax paid on input services availed, and which, therefore, is a cost.

The introduction of GST may also lead to further consolidation of operations in the Indian auto sector, with the likely neutralization of indirect tax benefits of a separate sales/distribution entity due to levy of CGST proposed to be extended up to the point of consumption.

Get prepared for the big change. GST could throw up some unique challenges for the automotive sector. For example, — taxation of used vehicles and trade-ins under GST could be complicated and lead to double taxation of the vehicle unless appropriate rules are drafted with regard to the same.

Lastly but perhaps, most importantly, businesses need to plan ahead for timely implementation of changes required in their ERP and financial reporting systems, to ensure minimal business disruptions during transition.

If you look at the current scenario, the indirect tax regime for the automobile sector in India is perhaps one of the most complex and multi-layered, with several Union and state levies applicable to different stages of supply chain such as Customs Duty on imports, Central Excise on manufacture, VAT and/or CST on sales, Service tax on import/provision of services, additional levies such as NCCD, Automobile cess, Entry taxes, Octroi/LBT, registration charges, road taxes etc. Furthermore, luxury vehicles are typically subjected to high tax rates of Central excise and VAT.

The introduction of GST could be a key business change driver.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

8 Questions to Ask Before Buying Car Insurance

Make sure your coverage reflects your needs and budget so that you get the best insurance value. This bears repetition: Your coverage should reflect your needs, priorities and budget. You’ll want to evaluate how you use your car, what risks you face and what options you want from an insurer before you compare policies and insurers.

Take a Good Look at Yourself—and Your Car. Consider the following questions when you’re getting ready to shop for auto insurance:

1. How Much Do You Love Your Car?

Okay, your car is not a family member or even a person, but do you have a very special attachment to it? If so, you’ll want it fixed perfectly—or replaced with the same model—if anything happens to it. So shop for the fullest range of insurance, including collision, comprehensive and even glass coverage. On the other hand, if you drive a beater, see cars as interchangeable and want to save on premiums, you might consider purchasing only liability insurance.

2. How Much Do You Drive?

Do you absolutely need your car every day—for instance, to get to work? Or is owning a car mostly a matter of convenience that you could forgo if needed? Do you drive 100 miles a month or closer to 1,000 or more? Make sure your policy reflects how much you drive. If you don’t drive a lot, you may want to opt for a lower coverage insurance.

3. Will You Be Using Your Car for Work?

If you use your car not just to get to work, but to perform work tasks, commercial auto insurance is a necessity. A personal auto policy will not provide coverage if you deliver pizzas, drive as a courier, transport paying passengers through a ride-share service or use your car for other commercial activities.

4. What Type of Car Do You Drive?

Insurers have mountains of data, and they know in precise detail what types of cars, makes and models are more—or less—likely to incur claims. A flashy sports car with a powerful engine may be more likely to be stolen and cost a lot for body work than a mid-sized sedan—and your insurance will be priced accordingly. By the same token, you may receive discounts if your car has the latest safety features and a good safety record.

5. Where Do You Live—and Park?

Where you live will impact your insurance rates—and it may be a factor in what coverage you purchase. For example, cars parked on the street in urban areas face a greater risk for theft or vandalism, so you may want to purchase comprehensive coverage. You may discover that your rates fall if you move from a city to a suburb.

6. Who Else Will Be Driving the Car?

Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional drivers. However, if other drivers live with you and use your car—whether a spouse, a teen driver or a housemate— make sure you go for a fuller coverage insurance.

7. What Are Your Legal Obligations?

In India it is mandatory that you carry minimum liability coverage for your car. At the very least, you need to make sure your policy complies with legal mandates. However, the levels of required coverage are generally pretty low. To be safe, you’ll probably want additional liability coverage—keep in mind, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money.

8. Is Your Car Financed or Leased?

If you still owe money on your car or have to return it in good condition when a lease expires, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value—and even for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. Collision and comprehensive will cover damage to your car up to its value—and supplemental gap insurance will cover the rest.

Keep in mind that your insurance options should also reflect your age, gender and driving record.

Once you’ve looked at your needs and priorities, and understood how insurance options will match them, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about the types and levels of coverage to buy.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Car Care with Kids

New drivers love their cars, but they typically don’t realize what it takes to maintain them. We recommend having fun teaching children about the importance of car care long before they can drive so they know how routine maintenance impacts the safety and dependability of their vehicle.

Many children love learning how cars operate, however, they don’t really understand the nuts and bolts of what it takes to properly maintain a car. By taking the time to teach your children the basics of car care, they will not only learn to appreciate the value of taking care of a car, but they will be more informed and better prepared for the day they become a car owner.

There are many do-it-yourself service procedures that can be performed by parents and children together. We suggest starting with three easy and fun maintenance steps to give children a general overview of car maintenance.

Check Lights and Wiper Blades – Explain to children the importance of being able to see and be seen when driving. Show them how to replace the wiper blades and work together to make sure all interior and exterior lights work properly.

Wash the Car – Kids love to help wash the car. Ask them to look for any dents, dings, scratches or cracked glass, as these problems, when left unattended, can lead to more expensive repairs down the line.

Check the Oil – Show children how to check the oil and explain how periodic oil and filter changes help keep your car clean on the inside of the engine. Also explain that other vehicle fluids, such as windshield solvent, should be checked and refilled to keep the car running properly.

Keep your kids happy and your car healthy!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Policy Nation Brake Safety Awareness Month: Stop and Check Your Vehicle’s Most Important Safety System

Let's join hands to make April a Brake Safety Awareness Month.

When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list. Brake Safety Awareness Month is the perfect time to have your brakes inspected to make sure they are in safe working condition before school starts and hot weather hits.

Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced. For routine maintenance, check your vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

If your car is pulling to the left or right, or if you hear odd noises when you apply the brakes, you should inspect your brakes. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing.

Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair, such as letting the brakes get to the “metal-to-metal” point, which can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill.

“A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle operation and control under a variety of driving conditions,” says an auto expert. “Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake system problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair.”

Regular vehicle care, maintenance and repairs can go a long way in protecting you and your family on the road.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Keep your vehicle safe, dependable and on the road longer!

It’s not always easy to recognize when your vehicle is suffering from engine damage as symptoms can be overlooked and seen as “normal.” While not all sounds and smells may threaten the life of your engine, there are some obvious warning signs that require a vehicle inspection right away, according to experts.

Early diagnosis of engine damage can most likely be treated, but it is important to be aware of potentially damaging symptoms and have the vehicle inspected if something doesn’t seem right,” says an expert from the Car Care Council. “By acting quickly and making necessary repairs as soon as possible, you could be saving yourself from the cost and hassle of breaking down along the road.”

One of the signs of engine trouble is an illuminated check engine light. This light indicates that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally. Ignoring the check engine light can negatively impact your fuel economy or cause damage resulting in more costly repairs.

Many motorists are familiar with the noises their vehicles make on a daily basis. However, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem, including a high-pitched squeal, grinding or thumping. Sounds under the hood, such as hissing, can also indicate that your vehicle is in need of attention.

Although all cars burn fossil fuels that create undesired emissions, these odors should remain outside of the car. Unusual smells that could signal engine damage include: burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, sweet smell of syrup, burning carpet and rotten eggs. When you smell any peculiar odor, you should not ignore it.
Another symptom of engine damage is excessive amounts of smoke or steam. Although some smoke is normal, excessive amounts of dark smoke in particular indicates that oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and is being burned along with the gasoline.

There are many apps available to help you stay on track with essential auto care intervals, download one.

Policy Nation believes in promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair for the safety of everyone on our roads. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lamborghini launches its fastest car Huracan Performante in India

Lamborghini has launched its new Huracan Performante supercar in India priced at ₹ 3.97 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). The car was unveiled just a month back in February at the Geneva Motor Show and now we have it in India. Lamborghini says that the Huracan Performante is said to be designed for those customers who crave the ultimate performance. The new Huracan Performante is the third Lamborghini product to be launched in India after the Huracan RWD Spyder and the Aventador S.

The Huracán Coupé has been created for unprecedented performance. All the power and acceleration of a naturally aspirated V-10 engine, without giving up control or fun of driving. This is all thanks to the  all-wheel drive system and the 7-speed Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) dual-clutch transmission, as well as the innovative Piattaforma Inerziale Lamborghini (LPI), created for accurate and real-time detection of all the chassis movements and for immediate adjustment of the car setup.

Below is a summary of all the characteristics and the technical specifications of the Huracán Coupé.

Top performance, but also maximum comfort: thanks to Lamborghini's ANIMA (Adaptive Network Intelligence MAnagement) technology, the Huracán can meet all of your driving needs. Each single part recalibrates to provide a driving experience like no other. 

By choosing the STRADA setting, you can drive with comfort and maximum grip, perfect for both day-to-day use as well as longer journeys. If you are looking for thrills and fun while driving, then you will appreciate the slight oversteer capabilities of the SPORT setting. On the other hand, to enjoy a racing-style drive, top performance will be delivered by the CORSA setting, which allows the Huracán Coupé to fully express its incredible potential.

The Huracán Coupé's exterior: form follows function, guaranteeing Lamborghini's stylistic purity and performance, so it comes as no surprise that the design is inspired by something as essential as a carbon atom.

From hexagons to streamlined Y's, each of the Huracán's lines is designed to cut through the air and take your breath away. A sporty and dynamic look, both innovative and unmistakably Lamborghini, built to intensify your emotions.

Luxury meets the spirit of Lamborghini inside the Huracán. Sporty yet elegant, it was developed to provide all the space and comfort you need. A large 12.3” TFT instrument panel, controls integrated in the steering wheel, perfectly contoured sports seats and a center console puts all the controls at your fingertips. Every detail is designed to make your driving experience natural and involving, all with the highest quality finish throughout.

On the one hand, you will have the incredible power and acceleration of a longitudinal mid-mount naturally aspirated V-10 engine. On the other, you have all the technology of the Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) dual-clutch transmission and the electronically controlled all-wheel drive system for all driving conditions. 

This means you can have all the power you need and at the same time the fun, exhilarating drive you desire every day.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Traffic offenders to face the heat

The Union Cabinet has approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 that provides for linking of driving licence and vehicle registration with Adhaar-based platform and proposes heavy penalties for traffic violations.

"We have proposed an amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act where people need to have Aadhaar number to apply for driving licence and need not to visit transport offices to get a learning driving licence as it all will be online," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters.

"The Bill proposes Aadhaar-based verification for grant of online services including learners licence. This would ensure the integrity of the online services and also stop creation of duplicate licences," he said.

The move comes in wake of de-duplication of licences and registration of stolen vehicles. The government has decided to make an all-India register for driving licences and vehicles which would be available across the country.

Gadkari said the Cabinet has approved various changes in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. These include 16 amendments and rejection of three suggestions made by the Parliament Standing Committee.

The three major suggestions rejected by the government include registration of vehicles by only RTO and inspection of vehicles by RTO. Once the bill is approved vehicle dealers will be authorised to issue vehicle numbers and register them through an all-India electronic register. He said the government has also proposed compulsory vehicle recall, amendments like third party insurance, relief to good Samaritans, stricter punishment and fines to traffic rule violators, etc.

The bill introduced in Parliament last year had proposed 89 clauses for amendment out of which only 57 were accepted by the Parliament Standing Committee on Transport, headed by Mukul Roy. With the Cabinet approval, now decks are cleared for the government to bring much-needed reforms in the transport and road sector, he said, adding the government may table the bill in Parliament soon.

The important aspects of the bill are 100 per cent e-governance to be brought in transport sector, the minister said, adding identity verification using Aadhaar will be used, bad roads contractor to be liable for fine, drivers will included in third part Insurance and Claims would be time bond. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016 and was referred to Departmental Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by Mukul Roy. The Motor Vehicle Act 1988 is a 30-year-old instrument which had not kept pace with the change of dynamics of road transport & information technology.

Also Read: Audi A3 facelift launched in India at Rs 30.5 lakh

The bill specifically targets traffic offenders with stringent penal provisions. The bill has identified priority areas for improving road safety. Stricter penalties are proposed for high risk offences such as drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers (such as use of seat belt, helmets).

The bill provides for facilitating delivery of services to the citizens and transporters. The bill aims to provide for maximum governance with minimum government. This would help in reducing the harassment faced by the stakeholders in the RTO offices. A national data base of vehicles and driving licences would help in safety and security and avoid malpractices.

The minister said it is a largely pro-people initiative and will reform the Motor Vehicle insurance sector.

"It provides specific timelines for processing of insurance claims. A ten fold increase has been made in the amount of compensation awarded under a simplified process of claims disbursal wherein the family of an accident victim would get compensation of Rs 5 lakh as settlement within four months of the accident. Presently it takes at least four to five years for an award," he said.

In the accidental death cases arising from hit and run accidents, the bill proposes an increase of compensation to Rs 2 lakh, an eight fold increase over current.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The latest in advanced car safety features

Safety remains a top concern for new-car shoppers, and fortunately, today’s modern cars offer more occupant protection and accident avoidance technologies than the typical model being traded in. But not all cars are equal; there are clearly those models that perform better in  dynamic tests, as well as crash tests conducted by the government and insurance industry. Test results on car model pages reveal the differences, though there is more to safety.

New technologies offer potential benefits, such as blind-spot detection and forward-collision warning systems. But ultimately, the driver is a critical factor, especially among teens and older drivers. 

Need a new car? Then consider one with active safety systems. Manufacturers are building cars with systems that can help you avoid or mitigate a crash in all sorts of situations, such as closing in on another car too quickly, changing lanes into an unseen car in a blind spot, or simply backing out in a busy parking lot.

The latest in Key active safety systems include:

Forward-collision warning (FCW) - Visual and/or audible warning intended alert the driver and prevent a collision.

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) - Brakes are automatically applied to prevent a collision or reduce collision speed.

Lane-departure warning (LDW) - Visual, audible, or haptic warning to alert the driver when they are crossing lane markings.

Blind-spot warning (BSW) - Visual and/or audible notification of vehicle in blind spot. The system may provide an additional warning if you use your turn signal when there is a car next to you in another lane.

Lane-keeping assist (LKA) - Automatic corrective steering input or braking provided by the vehicle when crossing lane markings.

Rear cross-traffic alert - Visual, audible, or haptic notification of object or vehicle out of rear camera range, but could be moving into it.

Once sold on the concept of these active safety systems, there remains the challenge in interpreting each manufacturer’s offerings, each with their own unique name, and then figuring out which trim and/or option is necessary to get the gear.