Personal Finance In Election Manifestos: BJP Promises Ayushman Bharat For Seniors, Congress Promises Increased Pensions

Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP's manifesto promises expansion of Ayushman Bharat Insurance and PM Mudra Yojan, while Congress promises Rs 25 lakh health insurance and increased pensions.
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With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress have released their election manifestos recently. Let's take a look at what the two largest national parties have promised that relates to the personal finance landscape of Indian citizens, and what they have promised for senior citizens.

BJP's Sankalp Patra

For Seniors: The BJP's Sankalp Patra, said that health insurance under Ayushman Bharat, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme will be extended to cover senior citizens. "We will expand the Ayushman Bharat Yojana to cover Senior Citizens and provide them access to free and quality healthcare," India's largest national party said.

With over 34 crore citizens currently benefiting from this free health insurance that provides Rs 5 lakh cover per family, the BJP pledges to extend this coverage to senior citizens. Currently, also there is no age limit for PMJAY but only 5 members per family can be covered, which usually cannot include both grandparents which may be the reason the Centre is considering an extension of the scheme. Only people who are from economically disadvantaged sections are now included, which may also be revised to include all senior citizens.

Additionally, BJP promises to enhance access to social security benefits and other government services to senior citizens "by leveraging the extensive reach and reliability of the postal and digital network." Further seniors will be trained in using UPI and other online payment methods and educated on how to avoid digital scams.

Personal Finance In Promises For General Citizens

BJP promised to expand the Jan Aushadhi Kendra network. Under this scheme, Janaushadhi Kendras provide generic medicines at affordable prices. As of January 31, 2024, 10,607 Janaushadhi Kendras provide around 1,965 generic drugs and 293 surgical items at subsidised rates.

PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will be extended another 5 years. The party claimed that free rations to over 80 crore have been provided since 2020 under this scheme.

BJP also promised to double the Mudra loan limit to Rs 20 lakh for entrepreneurs who have availed and successfully repaid previous loans under the Tarun category. Further crop insurance scheme of PM Fasal Bima Yojana will be strengthened technologically to ensure faster payouts.

To strengthen social security cover for unorganised workers, the BJP promised to integrate schemes like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), using the post office and Digital India network. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) with a low annual premium of Rs 12, covers accidental death up to Rs 2 lakh. It also covers permanent disabilities by Rs 2 lakh for total disabilities and Rs 1 lakh for partial disability.

At just Rs 436 annual premium, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) provides life insurance coverage, including natural death along with accidental coverage, with a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

Congress' NYAY Patra

For Seniors: Saying the central government’s contribution to pensions for senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the National Social Assistance Programme remains a pitiful Rs 200 to Rs 500 per month, Congress promises to raise this amount to Rs 1,000 per month.

Further, it promised to restore travel concessions in public transport (rail and road) for senior citizens. Before the pandemic, the Indian Railways provided concessions to senior citizens on their fares. Males aged 60 years or more were eligible for a 40 per cent discount, while females over the age of 58 years were eligible for a 50 per cent discount on their fares.

Personal Finance In Promises For General Citizens

Congress' promises include a Rajasthan Model of cashless insurance up to Rs 25 lakhs for universal healthcare and the launch of a Mahalakshmi scheme for unconditional direct annual cash transfers worth Rs 1 lakh to the oldest woman in every poor Indian family.

Funds for scholarships for OBC, SC and ST students will be doubled, especially for higher education. We will aid SC and ST students to study abroad; and will double the number of scholarships for them to pursue a Ph.D, INC said in the manifesto.

We will enhance institutional credit to SC and ST for home-building, starting businesses and purchasing assets, it added.

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