The government on Thursday decided to expand two insurance schemes for rural landless households and women self-help groups.
At a meeting, the Union Cabinet decided to provide an additional Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) to Life Insurance Corporation for the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana, which was launched last October. An additional 10 million landless households will get death and disability benefits under the expanded scheme by September 2009.
Under the scheme, the Centre bears 50 per cent of the premium of Rs 200 per year per person, while the state pays the remaining premium on behalf of the beneficiaries.
The Cabinet also approved the release of Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) towards Social Security Fund maintained by LIC to provide 50 per cent share of premium Janshree Bima Yojana for all women self help groups credit linked to banks.
Speaking to reporters, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi said the decision would facilitate life and permanent disability cover to 250,000 women SHGs by March 31, 2009. The scheme was launched in August 2000 to provide life insurance protection to the rural and urban poor under various vocational groups.
The Cabinet also approved an additional term of reference for the 13th Finance Commission to go into the entire oil, food and fertiliser subsidy burden.
"Having regard to the need to bring the liabilities of the central government on account of oil, food and fertiliser bonds into fiscal accounting, the Commission may review the roadmap for fiscal adjustment and suggest a suitably revised roadmap with a view to maintaining the gains of fiscal consolidation through 2010 to 2015," an official statement said.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the setting up of four metro blood banks as centres of excellence in transfusion medicine at a cost of Rs 468 crore (Rs 4.68 billion) at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
Among other things, the centres will collect more than 100,000 units of blood annually, expand the training programme to include doctors, technicians and nurses and handle natural or man-made disasters like dengue.