In the two years and four months since PMSYM was launched, just a little over 45 lakh people secured the pension cover.
Fresh enrolments under the voluntary, central-sector Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) scheme that guarantees a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 from the age of 60 years for domestic workers, rickshaw pullers and other low earners have been dipping fast and may soon be down to zilch (see chart). The seeming unravelling of the scheme, launched on February 15, 2019 with a declared aim to provide the cover to 10 crore such workers in five years, can be attributed to the income loss suffered by these unorganised-sector workers due to the pandemic and a lack of vigour with which the government implements it.
In the two years and four months since PMSYM was launched, just a little over 45 lakh people secured the pension cover. And even among those registered, there is an increasing rate of default, when it to comes to making the periodical contributions.
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 steep fall in enrollment under the scheme could also be because people don’t feel incentivised to continue with the periodical payments, analysts said.
While presenting the interim Budget for 2019-20, then finance minister Piyush Goyal had said that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector would avail themselves of the benefit of the scheme within five years.
A similar scheme, Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana,has also seen just 43,986 enrolments since it 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.