NEW DELHI: Within a week of Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announcing a new pension scheme for the unorganised sector, a notification from the labour minister has put a number of riders, leaving a major chunk of the intended beneficiaries out.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment notification issued on February 7, an unorganised worker above 18 and below 40 years, with a monthly income less than Rs 15,000, can join the ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan 2019’ scheme. This allows for a Rs 3,000 per month pension from the age of 60 years, starting February 15. This scheme is open to those with saving accounts and Aadhaar. It said persons covered under National Pension Scheme, contributed by the Central Government or Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Scheme under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, or Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme under the Employees’ Provident Fund, can’t join the scheme.
Another rider is that only spouses can be the nominee and can avail 50 per cent of the pension if the beneficiary dies. After the death of the subscriber and spouse, the corpus will be credited back to the Pension Fund. The notification also said that if an eligible subscriber defaults in the payment of the contribution, he shall be allowed to regularise his contribution by paying the entire outstanding dues along with interest at the rate determined by the Ministry of Labour and Employment from time to time.
The notification also has a harsh exit clause. “In case an eligible subscriber exits this scheme within a period of less than 10 years from the date of joining the scheme, then the share of contribution by him only will be returned to him with savings bank rate of interest payable thereon,” the notification added.
Experts claim that the notification will leave a majority of people out. “I do not think this is a labour friendly initiative,” a member of All India Central Council of Trade Unions said.