The newly inducted Modi Cabinet has approved key schemes in their first meeting held on Friday May 31, 2019. The big moves will benefit both farmers and traders.
New Schemes for the Farmers
The Modi 2.0 Cabinet has decided extending the PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) Scheme. This scheme promises to pay all poor farmers (small and marginal farmers having lands up to 2 hectares) Rs. 6,000 each every year in 3 installments through Direct Bank Transfer. It would reportedly benefit around 14.5 crore farmers all over India. This new scheme’s expenditure is estimated to be Rs. 87,217.50 crore in 2019-20.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana: To address the problems of farm sector distress, the Modi 2.0 Cabinet has approved a proposal to provide small and marginal farmers with a minimum Rs. 3,000 per month fixed pension, costing Rs. 10,774.5 crore per annum to the exchequer. The eligible farmers in the 18-40 years age group can participate in this voluntary and contributory pension scheme. Once the beneficiary of the pension dies, the spouse will be entitled to receive 50% of the original beneficiary’s pension amount.
New Schemes for the Traders
A Mega Pension Scheme has been approved for the traders, shopkeepers, and self employed persons (whose GST turnover is less than Rs. 1.5 crore). The scheme guarantees a minimum assured pension of Rs. 3,000 per month for around 3 crore small traders, self employed persons, and shopkeepers, once they attain 60 years of age.
Any trader in the 18-40 years of age group can enroll for this scheme by providing their Aadhaar card number and details of bank account. This new scheme is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme, meant for self-employed persons, traders, and shopkeepers. This contributory pension scheme has 50:50 contribution. The concerned scheme holder has to make certain contributions to the pension scheme. Once this is done, the central government will also make an equal contribution in the pension account of the subscriber every month.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that in the coming 3 years, 5 crore traders are expected to join the scheme.
New Jal Shakti Ministry
The new Modi government has announced formation of “Jal Shakti” ministry by merging “Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation” ministry and “Drinking Water and Sanitation” ministry. This ministry is led by BJP MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (from Jaipur, Rajasthan). It aims at providing piped water connection to every Indian household by the year 2024. Reports say that the ministry will now be able to formulate plans to address the issue of water management.
2018 NITI Aayog report has shown that inadequate water access leads to the death of around 2 lakh people every year. Additionally, water stress is faced by 600 million Indians. In fact, the water demand will get doubled by 2030, and the water scarcity will lead to an eventual loss of around 6% of GDP.
The Jal Shakti ministry will try to address all these water related issues within limited time frame. In fact, the water disputes among Indian states, as well as the international ones, will also be looked after by this ministry. The flagship Namami Gange project also comes under the Jal Shakti project, which cleans river Ganga as well as its tributaries/sub-tributaries.
Experts believe that higher spending in the rural sector will help boost the economy and will also address the severe rural distress issues. It is hoped that the social welfare schemes, along with the Jal Shakti ministry, will help economic growth by expanding the participation of the unprivileged section of the Indian society.