In first Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet approved the extension of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana to all farmers, a move that is likely to benefit nearly 14.5 crore farmers. Under this scheme, all the farmers -irrespective of their land holdings - will get Rs 6,000 every year in their bank accounts.
The previous government had estimated annual expenditure of Rs 75,000 crore in the earlier version of the scheme.
"The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the extension of PM-Kisan Yojana to all farmers. Nearly 14.5 crore farmers would now benefit from the scheme," said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, briefing the media about cabinet decisions.
"Union Cabinet has approved a new Central Sector Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana. It's a voluntary & contributory pension scheme for small and marginal farmers across the country. Central government will contribute to the pension fund in equal amount as contributed by the farmer," Tomar added.
In its manifesto for 2019 general elections, the BJP had promised to extend the scheme to all farmers.
After the extension of PM-KISAN scheme, all farmer will get Rs 6,000 a year. The move will cost exchequer Rs 87,000 crore annually.
The Rs 75,000 crore scheme was announced in the interim budget, under which the government decided to provide Rs 6,000 per year (in three equal installments) to an estimated 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares.
The Cabinet also agreed to roll out pension plans for farmers and traders. It also approved a new scheme, which assures minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 to all shopkeepers, retail traders and self employed persons after attaining the age of 60 years, fulfilling its poll promise.
Five crore traders are expected to join the scheme in the next three years, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said while briefing reporters at a press conference.
"All shopkeepers and self-employed persons as well as retail traders with GST turnover below Rs 1.5 crore and aged between 18-40 years can enroll for the scheme," an official statement said.
Interested persons can enroll themselves through over 3.25 lakh common service centres spread across the country. The government will make matching contribution in the subscribers' account, the statement added.
"It is a landmark initiative of the Prime Minister for which traders across the country are really happy.
"It shows the concern of the Prime Minister towards the trading community of the country and we hope that in this tenure, small traders will be on the government's priority list," Confederation of All India Traders Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal told PTI.
With PTI Inputs