Worried over poor coverage, Modi Govt lowers insurance premium

A file photo of PM Modi and former union finance minister Arun Jaitley launching the Jan Dhan Yojana

The Government is learnt to have asked insurers to allow beneficiaries to pay lower premium so as to accelerate coverage of the schemes

Official figures belie the hype created by the Narendra Modi Government over its flagship schemes. Figures available for the period up to July 11 this year shows less than 25% coverage of the Ujjwala Yojana, 27.3% coverage of the Jan Dhan Yojana, 18.76% coverage of Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and 22.29% coverage of Suraksha Bima Yojana among others.

While the Ujjwala Yojana was targeted to reach 32 lakh families, even on paper it appears to have reached a little over seven lakh families.

Mission Indra Dhanush has been able to vaccinate just 4.68% of the targeted children whereas only 4.29% of the pregnant women have been vaccinated.

Alarmed at the slow progress of the flagship schemes and poor feedback, the Government has notified life insurers to allow beneficiaries to pay the premium at reduced rates so as to meet the target.

The annual premium for the Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana is ₹330 while the premium for the Swasthya Bima Yojana is pegged at ₹12. Insurers have been complaining that claims under PMSBY having exceeded 250 per cent, there is an urgent need to raise the premium. But Union Minister of State for Finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla has been quoted as saying that the Government is not aware of any such demand.

Worried at reports received during the Gram Suraaj Abhiyan (EGSA) between April 14 to May 5, the Government launched EGSA (Extrended Gram Suraaj Abhiyan) between June and August 15 to improve the implementation. Barring a few states, the achievement of targets under the major financial inclusion (FI) schemes are said to be quite low.

In continuation of the ‘Gram Suraaj Abhiyan’, launched on Ambedkar Jayanti in April, Centre extended it to 117 aspirational districts identified by the NITI Aayog under EGSA.

This campaign which, undertaken under ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas’, was designed to promote social harmony, spread awareness about the pro-poor initiatives of the government, reach out to poor households to enroll them as also to obtain their feedback on various welfare programmes.

The Government aims at saturation coverage of seven flagship pro-poor programmes namely, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush, before the next election.

In a letter written by Department of Financial Services (DFS) secretary Debasish Panda, a copy of which is available with National Herald, admits that the progress has been low.

The letter exhorts the executives to visit the districts and help in improving implementation of the schemes. The emphasis is on saturation coverage, the letter adds.

The Secretary, who himself had started his career with New India Assurance before joining civil services, has asked executives to temporarily deploy additional manpower from other offices to ensure saturation under the financial inclusion schemes.

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