Modi launches pension plan for workers from unorganised sectors

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Mar 05, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands over the membership card to a beneficiary of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Pension Yojana’ for unorganised workers, in Ahmedabad on Tuesday | Photo Credit: Santosh Hirlekar

Says Opposition is upset with him as he had eliminated ‘commission agents’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had earlier identified himself as India’s chowkidar (watchman), on Tuesday said he is mazdoor number one (worker number one) as he announced the national launch of the Pradhan Mantri-Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana (PM-SYMY), which aims to provide pension to 42 crore workers in the unorganised sectors.

In what is perhaps his last visit to his home State ahead of the announcement of the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls, Modi also sought to consolidate the crucial Patel votes by participating in various events of the dominant Patidar groups — Leuva and Kadwa — which together constitute about 15 per cent of the votes in Gujarat.

Winding up his two-day Gujarat tour, Modi said he was aware of the Opposition’s attempts to dislodge the NDA government in the upcoming polls. “ Chowkidar choukanna hai (the watchman is vigilant), he said, adding his government has tightened screws on dalaals (commission agents) and the corrupt. “Since your benefits are now being deposited directly in your bank accounts, they have lost sleep.”

The PM said such groups are making noises against him. “ Paanch saal se kamai band hai, dukan band hai, dana pani band hai. Isliye zor zor se chilla rahe hain... Modi hatao, Modi hatao ” (In the last five years, their income has plummeted, their wheeling-dealing has stopped and livelihood has suffered badly. So they are shouting hoarse... dislodge Modi, dislodge Modi!).

“But your support is with the chowkidar ,” he added.

‘Chaiwalla has done it’

Earlier, in the presence of Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Modi launched the PM-SYM scheme announced by the Centre in its Interim Budget on February 1 this year. He said about two crore workers were simultaneously participating in this national launch across India via three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) set up for free registration. He said, within 15 days, over 14.5 lakh workers have registered for the scheme which would enable them to receive a minimum pension of ₹3,000 per month after they attain 60 years.

For this, the eligible workers between 18 and 40 years of age will have to get registered at a CSC and contribute anything between ₹55 and ₹200 per month. The government will also contribute a matching amount to this pension fund. After the beneficiary’s death, his/her spouse will get 50 per cent of family pension for life. The PM said even the Communists, who enjoyed power in different States in the past, never framed such a scheme for the workers in the unorganised sector. “In 55 months, the son of a chaiwalla (tea-vendor) did it.”

Seeks blessings

At a function of the Leuva Patels, Modi touched the feet and hugged former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel, who had mentored him in the 1980s and 1990s.

It was due to the alleged ‘interference’ of Modi, the then Gujarat BJP general secretary in the Keshubhai government, Shankarsinh Vaghela had rebelled in 1996. Vaghela broke away from the BJP and formed the government with the support of the Congress. Modi returned to Gujarat as CM in 2001. During Modi’s rule in Gujarat, Keshubhai had floated a regional party. Later, he merged back into the BJP.

On Monday, the PM had launched ₹1,000-crore project for the Kadwa Patels here.

Published on March 05, 2019
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