The finance minister may announce changes in Atal Pension Yojana (APY) rules, widening the age for subscription to 50 years from 40 years and double the maximum monthly pension to Rs 10,000; a government-funded health insurance scheme for domestic workers, construction and migrant labourers also under consideration
Gaurav Choudhury & Shreya Nandi
The government is likely to announce changes in the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) scheme, spreading its net wider and making it eligible for a larger number of people.
The changes include widening the eligible age limit to 50 years and raising the maximum monthly pension of up to Rs 10,000, a source in know of the matter told Moneycontrol.
The rules currently allow only people aged between 18 and 40 to subscribe to the scheme. It allows for a maximum monthly pension of Rs 5,000.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is likely to announce these changes in Budget 2017.
In addition, Jailtey is likely to announce new state-administered welfare schemes for unorganised sector employees, a move aimed at cushioning the backlash over demonetisation.
The plans include a health insurance cover for domestic workers across the country run by the government-owned Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
A pilot project will first be carried out in a few cities including Delhi and Hyderabad before expanding the scheme’s scope nationally. The modalities of the scheme will be finalised soon.
The government is also working on specific social security plans for construction workers and migrant labourers.
A wider APY and health insurance cover for domestic workers are part of the government’s broader plans to provide social and income security to the people who are working in the unorganised sector and encourage them to save post-retirement funds.
Launched in 2015-16, APY is a guaranteed pension scheme and administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
The total number of subscribers registered under APY crossed 39 lakhs in December 2016.
For those who have subscribed to the scheme before March 31, 2016, the Centre would pay an amount of 50 percent of the subscribers’ contribution up to a maximum of Rs 1000.
These subscribers would then be eligible for co-contribution for the period of five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20 .
Income tax payees, however, are not eligible for government contribution under APY.
About 90 percent of India’s workers work in the informal sector, employed without social security benefits, job contracts or even the guarantee of getting paid on time.
In a recent pre-Budget meeting, Jaitley told trade union representatives during the weekend one of the major priorities of the government is to ensure social security benefits for those working in the unorganised sector.
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