Prime Minister Narendra Modi has officially launched the pension schemes – Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan Dhan Yojana, and Swarojgar– for farmers, shopkeepers, and self-employed people.
- The programme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana, will provide a minimum pension of Rs. 3000 per month for small and marginal farmers after attaining the age of 60 years.
- Only persons between the ages of 18-40 are eligible for the scheme.
- The Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan Dhan Yojana is for shopkeepers and small retail traders.
- Here too, the minimum pension amount per month is Rs. 3000 and the age for eligibility are between 18-40.
- This is a pension scheme for self-employed persons. The eligibility and pension amount are the same as above.
- By 2050, the percentage share of people above 60 years will be around 19% of the total population. Their income security is of critical importance to the country.
- Also, the traditional family support for the elderly is crumbling due to the rapid pace of urbanisation and changing familial values in urban India.
- So far, pension benefits in India are limited to the organised sector only which accounts for only 7% of the total workforce of India.
- Thus India has one of the lowest rates of pension penetration in the world.
- People in low-income groups or unorganised sector often find it difficult to invest in pension schemes offered by LIC or private firms as the premium is high.
- The new schemes will thus enable people with low-income to save for their retirement years and have a financial cushion to lead a steady life.
- Already, the government has launched pension schemes for workers in unorganised sectors.
- For the government, the money accrued through these pension schemes will reduce the fiscal burden on the exchequer, enables long-term growth of the country by investing the money in growth-driving sectors of the economy and also help boost the capital market.
- The schemes will also enable the country to increase its ranking in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index.
- The index measures the pension and retirement income systems across 34 countries.
- It is published by human resource consulting firm Mercer, Australian Centre for Financial Studies and Monash University.
- In the 2018 index, India was ranked the lowest among the countries.
The new schemes will augment pension penetration across the country which is much needed as India will lose its demographic dividend in a few decades and the elderly population will increase.