Voice Of The People

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Rebukes Jairam Ramesh’s Criticism of Atal Pension Yojana

In a recent social media showdown, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman boldly refuted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s allegations regarding the efficacy and design of the Atal Pension Yojana, a flagship scheme of the Modi government.

Sitharaman wasted no time in addressing Ramesh’s claim of the scheme offering “not very attractive” returns and being poorly designed. With precision, she dismantled these assertions, emphasizing the deliberate choice architecture of the scheme, which allows subscribers to opt out if they wish to discontinue, thus placing the decision-making power in their hands.

Responding to concerns about the scheme’s returns failing to keep pace with inflation, Sitharaman highlighted that the Government of India guarantees a minimum return of 8 percent, irrespective of prevailing interest rates. She underscored this as an attractive and guaranteed minimum return, with the current returns surpassing this benchmark. Additionally, she clarified that any shortfall in actual returns is compensated by a subsidy from the government to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

In addressing Ramesh’s observation that a significant majority of subscribers receive pensions in the lowest slab of Rs 1,000, Sitharaman offered a compelling rebuttal. She asserted that this distribution aligns with the scheme’s objective of targeting the poor and lower-middle-class demographic. Sitharaman interpreted the prevalence of lower-income subscribers as evidence of the scheme’s effective targeting, emphasizing that if the scheme primarily benefited higher-income individuals, it would raise eyebrows.

The exchange on social media underscores the government’s commitment to defending its social welfare initiatives against criticism while highlighting the rationale behind their design and implementation. As the discourse continues, it remains clear that the Atal Pension Yojana stands as a cornerstone of the government’s efforts to provide financial security to the most vulnerable sections of society.


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