It offers pension, educational aid for their children, marriage and maternity assistance
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday unveiled a new expanded social security scheme for farmers and agriculture workers, which includes a monthly pension of Rs.1,000 for those who have crossed 60 years, educational assistance for their children and marriage and maternity assistance.
Making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that the Chief Minister's Farmers' Security Scheme would cover small and medium farmers in the age group 18 to 65, who owned 2.5 acres of wetland or five acres of dry land. Agriculture workers and lease holders in the same age group were also eligible for the benefits.
When CPI (M) member K. Balakrishnan wanted her to enact a legislation based on the announcement so that the future rulers would continue implement the scheme, Ms Jayalalithaa said that there was no need for it, since those who would discard the scheme could not come to power. “Moreover if an Act is passed, the government will be under compulsion to amend it every time it wants to increase the assistance to farmers.” Ms. Jayalalithaa said that unlike the earlier scheme, under which only the head of the family was given the identity card, the new scheme would cover all family members. “The farmer and his wife will be given maroon cards and their family members, grey cards. This will ensure benefits all family members without omission.”
On educational assistance, she said the children of the beneficiaries studying in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) would get Rs.1,250 to Rs.1,950 per year. Undergraduate students would be given Rs.1,750 to Rs.2,500 and postgraduate students, Rs.2,250 to Rs.3,750.
Students of undergraduate professional courses would get Rs.2,250 to Rs.4,750 and postgraduate students, Rs.4,250 to Rs.6,750.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said the farmers' welfare scheme announced by the DMK government in 2006 denied benefits to students who received financial assistance under other schemes. The new scheme would not preclude them on such grounds.
Marriage assistance would be given to those who cannot get similar benefits under the scheme of the Social Welfare Department. Men would get Rs.8,000 and women, Rs.10,000.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said that beneficiaries of new scheme were eligible for maternity assistance given by the Health and Family Welfare Department. To simplify procedures, the government would issue certificates through Special Tashildars (Social Security Scheme).
Besides a monthly pension of Rs.1,000 for farmers, she said that relief would be given to the family of farmers in the event of death due to natural causes or accident. “Since both the farmer and his wife are getting separate identity cards, both of them are eligible for the relief. Financial assistance to meet the last rites of farmers and their family members will be given immediately and there is no need to produce a death certificate.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa explained that the scheme would be implemented through District Collectors and revenue officials. A high-level committee would be constituted to oversee its implementation.