Bihari Yadav, 30, an untrained guard working with a security agency in Patna, is not particularly enthused by the new contributory pension scheme announced in the budget for the unorganised sector. Forget
The Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan offers unorganised sector workers with monthly incomes of up to Rs 15,000 a monthly pension of
Safina Khatoon, 59, a beedi-maker in Bihar’s Nawada district, is eager to enrol. I have spent my life in penury. Getting a pension of Rs 3,000 would be good, but I have no clue if I am eligible at this age, she says, underscoring the need to create awareness.
According to Dhirendra Kumar, investment expert and founder-CEO of mutual fund research house Value Research, the pension scheme is revolutionary. If India has to grow, you can’t ignore those in the unorganised sector. Even if it amounts to putting a tax on people like us, it is worthwhile, he says.
Experts say the mandatory contribution is the government’s way of trying to make unorganised sector workers take ownership of their pension accounts. But the scheme cannot be a substitute for jobs, whose growth depends on economic activity and emphasis on sectors such as manufacturing. n