M A I N   N E W S

PM launches insurance scheme from Lucknow

Lucknow, February 22
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today launched an ambitious social security scheme for 370 million workers of the unorganised sector in the country.

Launching the pilot project in 50 districts of the country, Mr Vajpayee said the scheme was a revolutionary step towards boosting the morale of the unorganised labour force in the country.

“It is for the first time in the country after Independence that importance is being given to the largest labour force by solving their basic problems like medical facilities, pension and compensation on death,” he said.

The Prime Minister, presenting 14 workers representing diverse unorganised sectors in the country with social security certificates, said the scheme would be instrumental in changing the status of the work force in the country.

Mr Vajpayee said workers in the unorganised sector were denied basic facilities like health care and social security as they did not have money.

“Rich do not need social security, but for the poor an umbrella of social security is must to protect them in case of accidents, ill-health or untimely death,” said Mr Vajpayee on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Lucknow, the first after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

Asserting that the NDA government was committed to provide social security to unorganised workers, Mr Vajpayee said the scheme would be managed by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation.

Initially, the scheme would be launched in select districts, including state capitals, he said, adding that if it gets a good response, it will be implemented all over the country.”

The Prime Minister said the scheme would cover all workers in the unorganised sector drawing up to Rs 650 per month as wages.

It would be financed by contribution from workers at the rate of Rs 50 per month in the 18-35 age group and Rs 100 per month in the 36-50 age group.

Contribution from the employers would be Rs 100 per month and the government contribution would be 1.16 per cent of the monthly wage of workers or up to Rs 250 per month, Mr Vajpayee said.

He said a worker would get a pension of Rs 500 per month on retirement, adding in case of untimely death, family members of a worker would get Rs 1.25 lakh plus pension of Rs 500 per month.

Mr Vajpayee said in case of hospitalisation, a worker would get Rs 30,000 as reimbursement and family members Rs 50 per day for 15 days.

Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma said there were 40 crore workers in the unorganised sector, of which 37 crore were not covered by social security. — UNI, PTI


Coolie asks for permanent job

Lucknow, February 22
It was a peculiar demand which left Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee speechless.

A Railway coolie today asked Mr Vajpayee to get him appointed as a class IV employee. But, added in haste that it was possible only after he returned to power for the second time.

Disclosing this, Mr Vajpayee said a coolie had put across the demand when he was distributing social security certificates to the workers of the unorganised sector here.

“He demanded the job but also added that this could happen only if I was re-elected,” the PM told the audience during the function. — UNI

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