Monday, August 8, 2016

Social Security for All

Purnima Sharma 
P. Srinivasa Rao, an agricultural labourer, lived in Ullipalem village of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. Being a poor daily wage labourer and having no fixed assets in his name, he could barely manage two square meals for his family. Srinivasa never thought of opening a bank account till he was convinced by Saptgiri Gramin Bank about the benefits of having an account with them. Finally, he opened his bank account in March 2015.  With some persuasion from the bank, he also opted for the Union Government’s Life Insurance Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna (PMJJBY) and paid the premium amount of Rs. 330 in July 2015. Suddenly, in August 2015, he got a massive heart attack and died leaving behind his wife and two small kids. His wife knew about the insurance cover her husband had taken under PMJJBY.

She approached the bank for information asking for financial assistance, the bank officials were helpful and assisted her in submitting the death claim to insurance company which settled the claim in favour of the nominee, wife of the deceased and credited the amount of Rs. two lakh into her saving bank account in November 2015. 

 With the timely support from the bank and PMJJBY Scheme, the deceased’s family got much needed, financial support and his children could continue their education. We can well imagine the plight of the poor family had the deceased not opted for the PMJJBY. This is an example where a poor family having no assets and fixed income benefited-out of the scheme. This is the aim of many other social security schemes of the Union Government to provide financial security to the common man in case of any untoward and unforeseen situation in life. 

 We have made immense economic progress but India is still an uninsured society as a whole. A large segment of society has been living without any social security or rather an uninsured life. After any untoward incident, i.e. accident or death, every poor family needs financial and social security the most. Social Security is an aspect which the present Government identified as a primary need. In order to achieve the objective of social security for common man, the Government has launched many schemes. 

 These Social Security Schemes have been launched with the objective of providing insurance services to the economically weaker section of society. Keeping in mind the lower income group, premium of these schemes have been kept fairly low, so that the benefit of these schemes can reach far and wide to the unreached. The schemes can be availed via bank accounts only. The Union Government is making tremendous efforts to universalize banking facilities through its financial inclusion scheme i.e. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

 Under the Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), 9.61crore policies and under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna (PMJJBY), 3.03crore insurance policies have been issued till 21st July, 2016. Nearly 36,000 claims were registered under PMJJBY of which more than 31,200 claims have been disbursed. Similarly, of the 7,025 claims registered under PMSBY, 4,551 have been disbursed till 21st July of this year.

 Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna (PMJJBY) is a one year Life Insurance Scheme, which is annually renewable, and it provides coverage of Rs. 2 lakh in case of death due to any reason. The scheme is available to people in the age group of 18 to 50 years at the annual premium of Rs. 330.
  Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) is one year Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. It is annually renewable at a premium of Rs. 12 only. The policy offers coverage of Rs.2 lakh in case of death or permanent total disability and Rs. one lakh for permanent partial disability due to an accident. It is available to the people in the age group of 18 to 70 years. So far (till 21st July, 2016) over 4,500 claims had been disbursed and provided financial relief to the families of  affected persons.

 The Atal PensionYojna (APY) provides income security, for old people. Under this Scheme, the Government guarantees minimum monthly pension ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000 from 60 years onwards to the subscriber.  After subscriber’s death, pension would go to his/her spouse for life and thereafter, the pension corpus as at the age of 60 years of subscriber, is returned to the nominee. It is specifically focused on all the citizens in the unorganised sector. Over 28.71 lakh subscribers are enrolled till date.

  These Social Security Schemes are leaving a positive impact on society. State Governments and district administration have been made partners in the implementation of these schemes. There are several success stories of these schemes from the villages and cities. People are not only becoming financially strong, but their life is changing for good. Their ambitions are growing. This is true financial inclusion in letter and spirit. Corruption is declining as the money is coming directly in the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. And this is one of the prime objectives of these schemes.  The horizon of a new dawn of social security has set in and more and more people are getting connected to it.

(Author is an independent journalist and TV anchor) 
Views expressed in the article are personal.

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