The much-talked about social security scheme for traders launched by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to woo the business community has received a tepid response so far in the four districts of Jalandhar division.
Data reveal that only 1,459 traders have enrolled for the scheme in the division comprising Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts.
Moreover, the response in Kapurthala and Nawanshahr is far below expected as only 51 and 63 traders respectively have enrolled for the scheme with the excise and taxation department in these districts.
In Jalandhar district, a hub of trading and business, only 960 traders (264 in Jalandhar-1 and 696 in Jalandhar-II) have shown interest in the scheme.
In Hoshiarpur, 385 traders registered under the state government’s scheme till date.
The excise and taxation department said it has been holding awareness camps in different parts of the division from time to time to inform the trading community about the benefits of the scheme, but it failed to yield much result.
The department officials, however, said 1,459 enrollments were satisfactory.
Under the scheme, insurance cover for accidental death and partial or permanent disability is extended to the beneficiaries.
A cover of Rs 2 lakh is also given to each beneficiary besides providing health insurance to meet hospitalisation expenses of up to Rs 50,000 per head.
A cover of Rs 5 lakh per beneficiary is given for the losses caused due to fire.
The state government would pay amount of Rs 25 crore annually as insurance premium and traders will not need to pay anything for this.
The Industrial and Traders Joint Action Committee, on the other hand, is not satisfied with the scheme. The committee says the scheme has several shortcomings. It demanded that the government should increase the amount of insurance cover for traders.
Ravinder Dheer, state president of Vyapar Sena Mandal, said, “It is a vote-security scheme and an attempt to befool traders. The state government is not bothered about traders and most of them have already got stock or accident insurance on their own.”
Dheer said the life insurance cover should be increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, health insurance from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2, 00,000 lakh and fire insurance cover from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
Assistant excise and taxation commissioner (Jalandhar-II) Rajpal Singh Khaira said they had been facing problem as most of the traders already had own insurance covers such as health, stock or accidental.
Khaira said the department had been holding camps in various wards of the city to spread awareness among traders about this scheme.