The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has given its nod to a Ministry of Labour and Employment proposal that seeks to provide social security cover to over 50 crore workers, including those in the farm sector, a media report said. The proposal aims to target those who aren't covered by the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
According to a report in the The Economic Times, the scheme, which will provide retirement, health, old-age, disability, unemployment and maternity benefits, will require nearly Rs 2 lakh crore. The scheme will be rolled out in phases and will cost Rs 20,000 crore initially.
Media reports state that the Narendra Modi-led government could roll out the social security scheme in the ongoing financial year, ahead of seeking re-election in 2019.
The PMO approval follows a Cabinet nod for the roll out of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), a plan to provide free health insurance to 10.74 crore poor families. Dubbed 'Modicare', the scheme, which the government claims is the world’s largest public-funded health insurance programme, will benefit some 50 crore people.
The “PMO has asked [the] labour ministry to go ahead with the social security cover at the recent high-level meeting with them, where labour ministry officials made a presentation on the universal social security code,” a senior government official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
In January, it was reported that the Government of India was working on the blue-print of the social security scheme.
The Economic Times in December reported that the proposal for universal social security cover was facing resistance from other sections of the government as it would raise overall wage costs.
Interestingly, in a September 2017 report, the labour ministry cited multiplicity of schemes as one of the major hurdles in creating a universal social security policy for India.
Terming the new social security scheme as a "path-breaking initiative", the report, said that a consensus among the various stakeholders is going to be key to the scheme's success.
In July 2017, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had said that the Centre was considering floating a social security fund.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 19:49 PM