The pension scheme for the unorganised sector workers, rolled out on February 15 last year, has received lukewarm response so far. Only a little over 40 lakh workers engaged as street vendors, rickshaw pullers, construction workers and in 124 similar occupations have got themselves enrolled under the scheme until Tuesday, way below the target to cover 10 crore, or a quarter of the country’s unorganised sector workforce, within five years.
Aimed at providing such set of workers, earning a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000, a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after attaining the retirement age, the Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM), was announced in the interim Budget for 2019-20.
As on January 14, 2020, the number of enrollments under PMSYM stood at 40,15,810. As on December 15, the tally was 39,25,575, up from 33,91,692 a month earlier.
Among the beneficiaries who have got themselves enrolled so far under the scheme, maximum are from Haryana followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhatisgarh.
Even as government makes a matching contribution in the pension account of the worker every month under the PMSYM, the scheme has failed to catch the fancy of the lower income groups mainly due to inadequate propaganda as otherwise, the scheme is way less costlier than the extant Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
Under PMSYM, the worker makes a monthly contribution of just Rs 55. This is more affordable than the Rs 126/month premium that an 18-year old pays under the APY for an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 upon completion of 60 years. Similarly, those who join PMSYM at the age of 29 will pay a monthly premium of Rs 100 for a fixed pension of Rs 3,000/month at the age of 60. This compares with Rs 318 a month for the same amount of monthly pension under APY.
PMSYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme where the entry age is between 18 and 40 years. A worker covered under any statutory social security scheme such as National Pension Scheme (NPS), Employees' State Insurance Corporation scheme, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) are not allowed to join in the scheme. The worker should also not be an income tax payee.
Once the beneficiary joins the scheme, the subscriber has to contribute till the age 60 years to get a monthly pension of Rs 3,000. After the subscriber’s death, spouse will receive half of the monthly pension.