New Delhi: What could be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s selling point to counter Opposition galvanising to put up a joint fight against the BJP in the 2019 General Elections? Is it nationalism? Communalism? Or, is it Modi versus a leadership that the Opposition can propel? While the ruling party is vying to have all sorts of ammunition in the arsenal, the bureaucrats at the finance ministry believe that game changer schemes of the government could be the right answer.
A note prepared to analyse the achievements of the government suggests that social security coverage of the population that has gone up from four percent in 2014 to around 40 percent in 2018 stands out. Whether or not this issue is wielded as a weapon in 2019, a senior official said the financial inclusion programme is showing results. Various schemes were launched to target those sections of population, who were unbanked and also not covered with any social security schemes.
"One of the biggest financial inclusion initiative of the world, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, led to 28 crores new bank accounts opened during the period 2014-17, which comprises 55 percent of the total new accounts opened globally during the same period. Under the initiative of Jan Dhan Se Jan Suraksha, the two schemes were launched to bring the poorer sections of the society under the protective umbrella of insurance coverage. One of the lowest cost insurance scheme of the world is Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna which offeres Rs 2 Lakh cover for a premium of just Rs 12 per year. This has led to enrollment of 13.5 crore people. A life cover under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna of Rs 2 Lakh at a premium of less than Rs 1 per day is another low cost specifically designed product to cover the unsecured population. So far, around 18.5 crore people have been brought under the protective net of insurance only through these two schemes and brought relief to 119,366 families with a compensation of Rs.2387 Crore in the hour of distress," the government note said.
The official sources said various welfare ministries have already started outlining plans for future schemes and seeking to re-ignite the popular sentiments by helping social security schemes the government machinery is executing in mission mode. They also conceded that Opposition and ruling dispensation are involved in a spat over GDP, job growth and manufacturing data with the Congress accusing the government of fudging the figures and this may intensify in the coming days.
The sources citing the note said ambitious Gram Swaraj Abhiyan with the target of achieving 100 percent saturation of all the bank accounts with Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna isurance covers, along with other benefit package, will ensure that benefit of insurance protection will be taken to every family in the country.
Women welfare is another key issue in financial inclusion promises in 2014, the year propelled the BJP to a historic win. The government note said: "To provide secured and guaranteed income after the retirement another low investment pension scheme Atal Pension Yojana was launched targeting the age group of 18 to 40 years. It provides minimum monthly pension of Rs 1000 per month and maximum pension of Rs 5000. Total of Rs 1.03 Crore people have been enrolled for this scheme out of which 40 percent are women. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana will protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in interest income and maximum social security during old age."
Sources said a large chunk of population has been brought under a new sense of insurance and financial security consciousness that will definitely figure in the upcoming long and fierce battle. While the opposition is going to hammer on government economic policies, criticizing that it failed to stimulate growth and jobs, these social schemes, sources said could provide much needed swing to the government on welfare policies platform.
Updated Date: Jul 17, 2018 18:36 PM