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Modi Launches Social Security Plans, Shares Stage With Mamata
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced three flagship social security schemes, including an insurance cover for less than Re 1 per day, while choosing to launch the ambitious programme from a dais shared by bitter critic and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
While demanding a complete waiver of West Bengal's Rs 2.74 lakh crore debt burden, Mamata also echoed Modi's call for the Centre and the states to work together for upliftment of the poor and the development of the country.
Invoking words of Rabindra Nath Tagore and Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Modi said "what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow" and added that the process of development would be incomplete if it did not reach the poor.
Banerjee, who has been very critical of Modi and BJP which has been working hard to make inroads into West Bengal, also said the downtrodden and the poor people were the backbone of the country.
"We must not forget the poor because it is the government of the people, by the people and for the people," she said.
At the same time, the two leaders, who shared the dais for the first time since Modi became Prime Minister, did not spare a chance to take jibes at each other.
"Our government had launched the Kanyashri scheme for the uplift of the girl child. For this we have allocated Rs 1000 crore. But the similar central scheme Beti Padhao Beti Bachao has an allocation of only Rs 100 crore," Banerjee said.
The chief minister said that not all the village panchayats in the state were covered by a bank and demanded that at least one bank branch should be present in each.
To this, Modi said, "This land has the blessings of both Lakhsmi and Saraswati. This land contributed a lot in manufacturing. Now she is saying that there are no bank branches in all villages. What happened in the last 60 years? The chief minister is saying this because she believes that if something can be done, then it will be by me."
The Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana will offer a renewable one-year life cover of Rs 2 lakh to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-50 years, covering death due to any reason, for a premium of Rs 330 per annum.
The Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana will offer a renewable one-year accidental death-cum-disability cover of Rs 2 lakh for partial/permanent disability to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-70 years for a premium of Rs 12 per annum per subscriber.
Atal Pension Yojana will focus on the unorganised sector and provide subscribers a fixed minimum pension of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000, Rs 4,000 or Rs 5,000 per month, starting at the age of 60 years, depending on the contribution option exercised on entering at an age between 18 and 40 years.
Jan Dhan Scheme
Listing the success of Jan Dhan scheme, Modi said that 15 crore bank accounts have been opened since August 15 last year and Rs 15,800 crore has been deposited there.
"Now 95 per cent of the poor are covered under the proper banking sector," he said, adding it was the inspiration for doing more for them and therefore he was launching the 'Jan Suraksha' social security schemes.
Modi said that the schemes have been announced targeting 80 per cent of the people who are not covered by any social security measure.
The Prime Minister also urged people to pay small premiums towards insurance schemes for their domestic helps, drivers, and liftmen, among others.
He further said it was heartening to learn that already under the programme 5.5 crore enrolments were done. The schemes would come into effect from June 1, 2015.
"I told the poor, this nation, this government and our banks are for you... poor do not want 'sahara'. We need to change how we think. The poor need 'shakti'," he said.
Modi said the success of the Jan-Dhan scheme demonstrated the power of the poor who desisted from maintaining zero balance accounts and instead deposited cash in those.
"See the power of the poor. The poor should be not given alms, but rather they should be empowered. Now it is the turn to unfold more programmes for the poor," he added.
Banerjee said that the state already has insurance schemes for farmers, construction and transport workers and also for unemployed youth. "These three new schemes launched today will add more."
She said the problem was at the implementation level for which the benefits were not reaching to the lowest level.
For this the Centre and states should work hand-in-hand to for the development of the country, Banerjee said adding this was the only way to do good for the poor.
Modi also paid his tributes to Gurudev Tagore on his birth anniversary today.
Stating that it is a misconception that large industrial houses provide more jobs, Modi said about 5.5 crore small and medium entrepreneurs provide employment to more than 14 crore people.
"We can achieve whatever but if the fruits do not reach the poor, our development journey is incomplete... we are calling the world to make in India and at the same time we are opening bank accounts for the poor," he said.