Maharastra
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Mumbai, July 10, 2019:

Auto drivers may soon get pension, and medical insurance in Maharashtra as the autorickshaw drivers will soon get a welfare board that will decide on schemes like medical insurance and pensions.

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Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, on Tuesday announced that a joint committee comprising representatives of the State government and drivers’ unions will be formed in seven days to look into its creation of this board.

Autorickshaw unions had planned to go on an indefinite strike from Tuesday. However, after the Chief Minister invited them for talks, the strike was called off late on Monday night.

Unions from across the State had come together under the Autorickshaw Chalak Malak Sanghatana Sanyuckta Kruti Samiti (ACMSSKS) and had listed issues which included setting up of the welfare board, a crackdown on illegal autorickshaws, fare revision, capping the number of permits issued to autorickshaws.

The Maharashtra State Department has decided to give pension to the licensed auto rickshaw drivers above 60 years of age. The scheme will also cover their spouse as well. The pension scheme is beneficial for auto rickshaw drivers as they do not have any pension benefits once they stop driving.

The initiative will benefit over 17 lakh licensed auto rickshaw drivers and owners, which constitute about 88% of the state’s workforce.

It will be mandatory for auto rickshaw drivers to enroll under the Atal Pension Yojna (APY). Under this scheme, the drivers will have to pay Rs 12 p.a. as the insurance premium. The premium will be ‘auto-debit’ from the account holder’s saving bank account in one installment on or before 1st June under this scheme.

The subscribers will get a fixed pension payouts varying between Rs 1000 p.a. and Rs 5000 p.a. on attaining the age of 60, depending on the contributions made. On joining the APY before the 31st December, 2015, the central government will contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs 1000 p.a.

The scheme, however, will not cover those who neither own auto rickshaws nor have permits. The additional transport commissioner, Mr. SB Sahasrabuddhe, has directed all regional transport officers across the state to ensure enrollments of auto rickshaw drivers for pension and insurance plans while renewing permits and issuing vehicle fitness certificates.

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