The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) scheme, a pension scheme for unorganised workers in India, has witnessed a significant number of subscribers leaving the program in less than six months. This trend has raised concerns about the scheme’s viability and sustainability.
Decrease in Subscribers
The number of subscribers to the PM-SYM scheme has decreased to 4.43 million as of July 11, which is a decline of 1.19 million from the all-time high of 5.62 million recorded on January 31. The main reasons for this decline are attributed to high inflation and rising living costs, which have made it challenging for unorganised workers to continue contributing to the voluntary pension program.
Impact of Inflation and Living Costs
Experts suggest that the persistently high prices have significantly increased the cost of living, making it difficult for unorganised workers to sustain the burden of monthly contributions under the PM-SYM scheme. Labor economist KR Shyam Sundar highlighted that these exits may be permanent, with workers withdrawing both their contributions and the interest earned on them due to the ongoing financial strain caused by high prices.
According to the scheme guidelines, if a subscriber leaves the PM-SYM scheme in less than ten years, they are allowed to withdraw their share of contributions along with the savings bank interest rate. However, if a subscriber exits after ten years but before reaching the superannuation age of 60 years, the beneficiary’s share of contribution, along with accumulated interest as earned by the fund or at the savings bank interest rate (whichever is higher), will be credited to the beneficiary.
PM-SYM: A Voluntary Contributory Pension Scheme
The PM-SYM scheme is a voluntary contributory pension scheme introduced by the Indian government. Its primary objective is to provide social security to millions of unorganised workers. The scheme is designed for unorganised sector workers aged 18 to 40 years, earning less than Rs 15,000 per month. It aims to bring these workers under the social security net and ensure their financial stability during retiremen.