The Finance Ministry has re-energised its effort to get more people, especially from lower-income group and vulnerable sections, to enrol under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), a low-cost life insurance scheme. But bankers are not very enthused about this effort.
“In these testing times, let’s take a step towards security. Subscribe to PMJJBY and secure the safety of your loved ones. Available to people in the age group 18 to 50 years with a bank account who give their consent to join/enable auto-debit of premium,” the Financial Services Department (DFS) said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, bankers are not very excited with the renewed thrust on the scheme as they feel this will put additional pressure on already overworked staff. Also, this could lead to crowding in bank branches.
“The government issues advisory, but it soon becomes a kind of important task for bank management. Who will have to work extra now? Besides, the staff available is in limited number as positive cases are here too,” a senior public sector bank official said on condition of anonymity. Another bank official was equally critical, saying how can one expect any additional work by bank staff at this moment.
Launched on May 9, 2015, the scheme offers a renewable one-year term life cover of ₹2 lakh to all subscribing bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 50 years. It covers death due to any reason, including suicide and murder. The rate of annual premium is ₹330 per subscriber. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) administers the scheme. Anyone with a bank account in a Scheduled Commercial Bank can enrol for the scheme. She/he needs to give instructions regarding auto debit before May 31 every year. Cover is available for the period starting June 1 and ending on May 31.
Fear target pressure
Another bank official expressed fears that soon some target might be out and the need to achieve it in a given period of time.
“Our worst fear is crowding in any branch. Given security concerns, many people are still not very comfortable with using online banking and they prefer to visit the branch for any banking requirement. This could be so in the case of people willing to subscribe to a new insurance scheme,” he said.
As on April 28, the total number of subscribers under the scheme was 10.32 crore. The Finance Ministry also claimed that over 2.39 lakh claims have been settled since the inception of the scheme.
However, data as on March 31 shows that weekly enrolment has come down. For example, during the week starting March 17 and ending March 24, total enrolment was 4.91 lakh, which dropped to 3.60 lakh during the March 24-31 week.
However, Finance Ministry officials believe it that it is a temporary phase and things will improve.