Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan: PMSYM pension scheme for low-wage earners loses steam

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April 3, 2021 2:30 AM

The PMSYM scheme came into force on February 15, 2019. While presenting the interim Budget for 2019-20, acting finance minister Piyush Goyal had said that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector would avail the benefit of the scheme within five years.

A similar scheme, Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana, has also seen a meagre 43,751 enrolments since the scheme came into effect from July 22, 2019.A similar scheme, Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana, has also seen a meagre 43,751 enrolments since the scheme came into effect from July 22, 2019.

Fresh enrolment under the voluntary, central sector Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) scheme that guarantees a monthly Rs 3,000 pension from the age of 60 years for domestic workers, rickshaw pullers and other low-wage earners reached its nadir to only 1,30,120 in 2020-21 from 15,91,964 a year earlier, indicating the income loss suffered by the unorganised sector workers due to the pandemic.

A worker between 18-40 years of age and earning less than Rs 15,000 a month can join the scheme, in which the Centre makes a matching contribution as that of the beneficiary. A worker joining the pension scheme at 18 years needs to contribute as little as Rs 55 per month to ensure a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after attaining the age of 60 years.

The PMSYM scheme came into force on February 15, 2019. While presenting the interim Budget for 2019-20, acting finance minister Piyush Goyal had said that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector would avail the benefit of the scheme within five years.

However, the labour ministry’s data reveals that the scheme has seen a total of 44,94,864 enrolments till March 31, 2021, up from 43,64,744, as on March 31, 2020. As much as 27,72,780 workers got themselves enrolled under the scheme till March 31, 2019.

XLRI professor KR Shyam Sundar said the lower enrolment under the scheme is primarily because of the fact that people do not feel incentivised to enrol and continue with the periodical payments as the scheme mandates. The meagre benefits and uncertainty of the future and the lower disposable income of such workers, at present, due to high employment and under employment is also instrumental for lower enrolment under the scheme.

A similar scheme, Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana, has also seen a meagre 43,751 enrolments since the scheme came into effect from July 22, 2019.

Under this voluntary and contributory pension scheme, small traders, retail traders, shopkeepers and self-employed persons, with an annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore can join in within the 18-40 years age bracket.

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