State and Centre to contribute Rs 1,000 each per head
On September 2, Kerala became the first state in the country to announce a pension scheme for all workers registered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the state who have worked for at least100 days in a year.
The pension scheme would be introduced with contributions from the state government, the Central government and the workers." The state government has decided to contribute Rs1,000 per head to the scheme and an equal amount would be put in by the Centre,” said the state Minister for Rural Development K C Joseph at a press conference held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. The workers' monthly contribution would be announced shortly after discussing with them.
"Last year, we had given Rs 1,000 as bonus to women workers and this time we have decided to put that amount as the state's contribution into the pension fund," said the minister. The maximum age for joining the scheme would be 50, and monthly pension would be available once the worker attains the age of 60. Workers above the age of 50 would not be considered for pension this time but may be considered later, said the minister.
The minister said the state had performed better under MGNREGS last year. The expenditure has more than doubled from R 701 crore in 2010-11 to Rs1,415 crore 2012-13. Though there were only 72,343 families that had worked for more than 100 days in 2010-11, their number has risen to 350,000 last year. As many as 83.6 million days of work was generated compared to 49.3 million in 2010-11. The present daily wage given to a worker is Rs164.
The minister said that to reduce the delay in distributing payment to the workers, the state government has entered into an arrangement with the State Bank of India for e-payment of wages to all the workers."With this, the delay of payment of more than three to four weeks can be reduced to two weeks," said he.
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