Government Schemes Current Affairs - 2019

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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) extended to all poor households

The central Government has decided to extend the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to all poor households in the country.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is the government’s flagship programme to provide free cooking gas (LPG) connections. The PMUY scheme targets to reach out to provide free LPG connections to 80 million families by 2020.

With the expansion of the PMUY scheme, all the poor households can avail the benefit from PMUY and it will not be mandatory to be part of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) list or the seven identified categories under the programme to be eligible for the scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in May 2016. The initial target set for the scheme was to provide 50 million LPG connections to below poverty line (BPL) families by 2019, by giving financial assistance of Rs 1600 per family. Till now, Under PMUY schemes 58.5 million connections have been given across 715 districts. As per the government data, About  80 per cent of the beneficiaries come back for a second refill and about 45 per cent take three or more refills annually. The government has also recently launched LPG Panchayats to promote the PMUY scheme.

The vision behind the scheme: The successful implementation of the scheme will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in India, which will help in women empowerment and also will protect their health. The time spent on cooking and drudgery will reduce. Additionally, it will also generate employment for youth in the rural areas in the supply chain of LPG.

Government raises its contribution in National Pension System to 14% from 10%

Union Cabinet has decided to raise contribution of Central Government to National Pension System (NPS) corpus of its employees from 10% to 14%. This will increase in eventual accumulated corpus of all central government employees covered by NPS. There are 18 lakh central government employees at present. The revenue impact from higher government contribution to employees’ corpus is expected to be around Rs.2,840 crore for 2019-20 and will be in nature of a recurring expenditure.

Government also has decided to make NPS fully tax free, making it on par with the provident fund scheme. It has decided to exempt income tax that is applicable on part of NPS corpus that is withdrawn on retirement. At present, while exiting scheme, 60% of corpus could be withdrawn and 20% of withdrawn amount is taxable. This portion now has been made tax free. The remaining part that could be used to buy annuities is anyway tax free. With this decision, NPS has acquired parity with provident fund savings, which are not taxed at any of three stages of saving, profit accrual or exit.

National Pension System (NPS)

It is easily accessible, low cost, tax-efficient, flexible and portable retirement savings account. It was launched in 2004 and was initially introduced for new Government recruits (except armed forces). It aims to institute pension reforms in country and to inculcate habit of saving for retirement amongst the citizens. Its objective is to provide retirement income to all the citizens. Under it, individual contributes to his retirement account. Employer can also co-contribute for social security/welfare of individual. It was extended for all citizens of country from May 2009 including the unorganised sector workers on voluntary basis. NPS is governed and administered by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Currently, any Indian between age of 18 to 65 years may voluntarily join the NPS. NRI can open an NPS account, however contributions made by NRI are subject to regulatory requirements as prescribed by RBI and FEMA from time to time.