M A I N   N E W S

Polls on mind, govt woos rural households
Tribune News Service

Rs 1,000 cr more for Aam Admi Bima Yojana
New Pension Scheme for all regular NVS employees

New Delhi, July 31
Having survived the recent trust vote in Parliament but still not sure whether the present UPA coalition would last its full term till next year, the Congress-led government today released Rs 1,500 crore for augmenting two schemes of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) targeted at women and rural landless households.

Of this, Rs 1,000 crore will go towards providing an insurance cover to an additional one crore rural landless households, while Rs 500 crore has been released for a social security fund LIC maintains for women’s self-help groups. Both schemes are bound to woo the rural households and voters.

Addressing the media following the meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said, “The fresh funds released will meet the central government’s liability toward its share of premium payment for an additional one crore beneficiaries”.

Under the scheme for the rural landless, called the Aam Admi Bima Yojna (AABJ), the LIC provides death and disability benefits to the head of a family or one of its earning members.

The scheme was announced in the budget for fiscal 2007-08 and was allocated a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore for covering one crore rural households.

Families covered under the scheme are entitled to receive Rs 75,000 in case the head or earning member of the household dies in an accident or is permanently disabled.

In case of natural death or partial disability, the benefits amount to Rs 37,500.

The annual premium per family is Rs 200, to be equally shared by the centre and the concerned state government.

The Rs 500 crore released for the LIC’s social security fund would go toward the government’s 50 per cent share of the premium under the Janashree Bima Yojna (JBY) for women’s self-help groups, Dasmunsi said.

“LIC will cover over 250,000 women’s self-help groups under JBY by March 31, 2009,” the minister said.

In another decision, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of the New Pension Scheme of Government of India to all regular NVS employees joining NVS after the date of notification and also gave its approval for giving an option to the regular employees of NVS, as on the date of notification of New Pension Scheme, to continue with the existing CPF Scheme or to join the New Pension Scheme.

In the latter case, the amount accumulated in CPF account of the employee will be transferred to the pension fund under the new pension scheme. The service of all new NVS employees will become pensionable.

With a view to providing drinking water in the rural areas of the country, the Union Cabinet also approved modification requiring rural drinking water supply projects to be implemented with emphasis on sustainability of the projects, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Higher allocations have been provided to bring in the sustainability component under all rural water supply programmes. The central Government will support all sustainability components with full (100 per cent assistance) to the States.



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