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Modi Govt set to launch a ‘Big’ welfare plan for 500 million Indians

Modi Govt set to launch a ‘Big’ welfare plan for 500 million Indians

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to extend a welfare program to India’s 500 million (50 crore) workers as he bids for re-election in 2019, but he has limited time and resources to implement the ambitious plan.

Modi aims to initially provide three programmes — old age pension, life insurance and maternity benefits, while leaving out unemployment, child support and other benefits — to most working citizens, government officials said, asking not to be identified as discussions are private.

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The government has drafted a bill to extend benefits to all workers, including those in informal employment, by merging and simplifying 15 federal labour laws into one. It plans to present the bill in July in the upcoming session of Parliament, labour minister Santosh Gangwar told Bloomberg News, while remaining non-committal on a full-fledged roll-out before the national poll.

The plan will be one of the largest mass benefit programs in the country of 1.3 billion people and comes after the February announcement of a health protection plan targeted to cover 100 million poor families, dubbed ‘Modicare’.

The government plans to pilot the project in six districts in the months leading up to the federal elections due in May next year, the officials said.


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