Pune: Waste pickers demand amendments to PMJJBY-PMSBY

A SWaCH worker going collect waste from doors of people.

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Pune, 2nd February 2022: The Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat has red flagged two major drawbacks of the flagship universal insurance schemes that were introduced by the union government in 2017-18 and demanded remedies.

The highly publicised Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyot Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) offers life and disability insurance cover of 2 lakhs for an annual premium of Rs.330 while the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) offers accident insurance cover of 2 lakhs for an annual premium of Rs.12. The total annual premium of Rs.342 for the two schemes is auto debited from the bank account of the insured person. The bank contracts with the insurance company for the policy. While the scheme is open to all bank account holders and scores on offering some modicum of security, the devil as always is in the details.

The first major drawback is that only those in the age group 18 to 50 years can be enrolled and renewal ceases at age 55 years. This means that there is no cover when aging sets in and the risk of death is higher. Procuring a personal ife insurance policy post 55 years is prohibitively expensive. Even the public sector behemoth, LIC quotes upwards of Rs. 3000 for insurance cover of 1 lakh! The privatization of LIC is only going to exacerbate the situation. The second major drawback of the PMJJBY-PMSBY is that although they carry the Pradhan Mantri prefix, the government does not pay any part of the premium, unlike in the previous Aam Admi Bima Yojana.

The National Family Benefit Scheme is the recourse available to the uninsured post 55 years when the family loses a ‘male’ earning member. The paltry Rs.20,000 benefit is not given in the case of the death of a female earning member.

There are stories that follow grand pronouncements about government schemes and the schemes have to be reviewed in order to remedy the drawbacks. The Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat has written to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance on the 1st February 2022 calling upon the government to

  1. Include those in the age group 51-70 years in the PMJJBY
  2. Pay the entire premium of Rs.342 to the insurance companies or directly into the beneficiary accounts for those insured under the PMJJBY-PMSBY from the Social Security Fund.