The pace of registration under the voluntary and contributory pension schemes that guarantee monthly pension of Rs 3,000 from the age of 60 years to domestic workers, rickshaw-pullers and other low earners is picking up again. As against just 46 registrations in October 2021, the lowest since enrollment started under the scheme in March 2019, several thousand people signed up for the scheme in each month since December 2021.
The number of registrations in the previous two months under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana (PMSYM) was, however, higher: 82,505 in December and 28,190 in January 2022, official data showed.
LIC is the fund manager for the scheme.
Workers in the age group of 18-40 years with a monthly income of Rs 15,000 or less and who are not members of the EPFO, ESIC or NPS can join the scheme. They will also have to contribute from Rs 55 to Rs 200 a month, depending upon their entry age into the scheme.
The government makes a matching contribution as that of the beneficiary. The scheme was announced in 2019 with a declared aim to provide cover to 10 million such workers in five years. As little over 4.6 million people have joined the scheme till March 16 this year.
Till the end of the 2019 calendar year, 3.98 million people had joined the scheme. At the end of 2020, this number went up to 4.47 million. In 2021, just 1.1 million joined the scheme.
“Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown, the enrolment drive under the PMSYM scheme was adversely affected,” a government official said. Experts also said that income loss suffered by these unorganised-sector workers due to the pandemic and a lack of vigour with which the government implements the scheme were responsible for the lower addition under the scheme.