Union Budget 2015-16: Insurance for the masses

Finance minister, Arun Jaitely presenting the union budget 2015-16, in Parliament today said that a large proportion of India's population was without insurance of any kind - health, accidental or life.

"As our young population ages, it would also be pension-less," Jaitely said.

Encouraged by the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Jaitley proposed working towards creating a universal social security system for all Indians, specially the poor and the under-privileged.

He said that Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana would be launched to cover accidental death risk of Rs 2 lakh for a premium of just Rs12 per year.

Similarly, the government would also launch the Atal Pension Yojana, which would provide a defined pension, depending on the contribution, and its period.

To encourage people to join this scheme, the government would contribute 50 per cent of the premium upto Rs1,000 each year, for five years, in new policies taken out till 31 December, 2015.

The finance minister further said that the third social security scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, provided insurance coverage against both natural and accidental death risk of Rs 2 lakh. The premium would be Rs 330 per year, or less than Rs1 per day, for those in the age group between 18 and 50.

Jaitley said that there were unclaimed deposits of about Rs3,000 crore in PPF accounts, and approximately Rs6,000 crore in the EPF.

The finance minister proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which would be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others. Jaitley said a detailed scheme would be issued in March.

The finance minister further said that special attention needed to be paid to the population of senior citizens in the country, which was now approximately 10.5 crore, out of which over 1 crore were above the age of 80 years, with 70 per cent living in rural areas and a large number were also in the BPL category.

A sizable percentage of them also suffered from age-related disabilities. The finance minister proposed a new scheme for providing physical aids and assisted living devices for senior citizens, living below the poverty line.

Jaitley said that in sum, these social security schemes reflected the government's commitment to utilise the Jan Dhan platform, to ensure that no Indian citizen would need to worry about illness, accidents, or penury in old age.

Being sensitive to the needs of the poor, under-privileged and the disadvantaged, the government also remained committed to the ongoing welfare schemes for the SCs, STs and women, Jaitley emphasised.

Despite serious constraints on union finances, allocations made this year were as follows:
SC                     Rs 30,851 crore
ST                     Rs 19,980 crore
Women              Rs 79,258 crore
 
The minister announced an integrated education and livelihood scheme called 'Nai Manzil' to be launched this year to enable minority youth who did not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment.

Further, to showcase civilization and culture of the Parsis, the government would support, in 2015-16, an exhibition, 'The Everlasting Flame'.

He lo said the government would focus on following social security schemes:

  • Universal Social Security System for all Specially the Poor and the Under-Privileged:
  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
  • The Atal Pension Yojana
  • The Prahan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana
  • Scheme to subsidise the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others

Integrated education and livelihood scheme 'Nai Manzil' will be launched for minorities