New Delhi, June 1: The Union Cabinet on Friday approved a new Central sector scheme that will empower farmers across India, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said.
“This is a path-breaking scheme will provide pension cover to our industrious farmers who toil day and night to feed our nation. It is also for the first time since Independence that such a pension coverage has been envisioned for farmers,” Tomar said.
It is estimated that five crore small and marginal farmers will benefit in the first three years. The Central government would spend Rs 10774.50 crore for a period of three years towards its contribution (matching share) for providing social security cover, as envisaged under the scheme.
It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) across the country. The entry age of 18 to 40 years, with a provision of minimum fixed pension of Rs 3,000, on attaining the age of 60.
For example, a beneficiary farmer is required to contribute Rs 100 per month at median entry age of 29. The Central government shall also contribute to the Pension Fund an equal amount, as contributed by the eligible farmer. After the subscriber's death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the SMF beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50 per cent of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the scheme. If, the death of the subscriber happens during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the scheme by paying regular contribution.
An interesting feature of the scheme is that the farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to the scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri KisanSAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme directly. Alternatively, a farmer can pay his monthly contribution by registering through the Common Service Centres (CSCs) under MeitY.
Talking about the scheme, Tomar said, “For 70 years after Independence, such a coverage for farmers was never thought. It was in the run up to the 2019 Parliamentary elections that PM Modi first mooted such an idea, which gradually found resonance across the length and breadth of India.
“Such a plan was mentioned in the BJP manifesto and in the first Cabinet meeting after the formation of a new government, it has become a reality,” he added.