Centre notifies pension scheme for small traders

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New Delhi, 24 Jul: The Centre’s pension scheme for small traders has been notified and is being introduced on a trial basis this week, with the formal launch of the scheme likely to be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon, according to Union Labour and Employment Ministry officials.


On Wednesday, the ministry posted the Gazette Notification dated July 22 for the Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan, Yojana 2019 on its website. The scheme, which was among the campaign promises of the BJP, was one of the proposals cleared by the Cabinet at its first meeting.


While the scheme would be applicable from Monday, the online portal for applicants would be rolled out “in a day or two,” a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday. Applicants could, however, apply through the 3.5 lakh common service centres, which were set up for the government’s other pension schemes including the one for unorganised workers.


The ministry would use the time before the scheme’s formal unveiling to address any glitches that may come up following the ‘soft launch’, the official added. Another ministry official, who declined to be identified, said the launch could be on August 15, on the occasion of Independence Day.


Under the scheme, those who are self-employed and working as shop-owners, retail traders, rice mill owners, oil mill owners, workshop owners, commission agents, real estate brokers, small hotel owners, restaurant owners and other small traders will be eligible for pension.


“The operations of such small traders are generally characterised by family-owned establishments, small scale of operations, labour intensive, inadequate financial aid, seasonal in nature and extensive unpaid family labour,” the ministry said in its notification.


Small traders between 18 and 40 years of age, having an annual turnover of less than ?1.5 crore would qualify to apply for the scheme. To be eligible, the applicants should not be covered under the National Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’ Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assessee.


The scheme gives the subscribers ?3,000 a month after they turn 60, once they have contributed to the scheme every month from the time of enrolment and till that age. The government would match the monthly contribution, an amount that would depend on the age at which the applicant enters the scheme. For example, an 18-year-old would have to pay ?55 a month, while a 40-year-old would need to pay ?200 a month.



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