Cashless health insurance scheme for street vendors

New Delhi: Street vendors will now enjoy the benefits of cashless-based health insurance scheme, the proposal for which was approved by the government today, reports PTI.

The insurance scheme under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) presently covers below poverty line (BPL) families only.

The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal of the ministry of labour and employment for extending RSBY to street vendors whose number according to a 2001 report is over 42 lakh.

The government proposes to cover all registered street vendors under RSBY by 2013-14, out of which 4.21 lakh are proposed to be covered in the current financial year, said an official release.

The premium for the insurance scheme will be paid by the central and state governments in the ratio of 75:25. For the North Eastern States and Jammu and Kashmir, the expenditure would be shared in the ratio of 90:10.

The total expenditure on the part of the central government during the current year will be around Rs20 crore.

The recurring expenditure after 2013-14 will be around Rs200 crore annually, the release said.

Beneficiaries under RSBY are entitled to a cover of up to Rs30,000 for most diseases that require hospitalisation.

The cover extends to five members of the family, which includes the head of the household, spouse and up to three dependents.

According to the labour and employment ministry, till 15th October this year, 27 states were in the process of implementing the scheme.

The scheme has been operationalised in 24 States with more than 1.95 crore smart cards having been issued to more than seven crore persons.


Wheat MSP hiked by Rs 20per quintal; pulses by up to Rs380

New Delhi: The government today announced a marginal hike of Rs20 a quintal in the support price of wheat to Rs1,120, but prices of masoor and gram dals have been raised sharply by up to Rs380 a quintal to encourage farmers to grow more, reports PTI.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the minimum support price (MSP) of rabi crops of 2010-11, home minister P Chidambaram told reporters.

The MSP of wheat, a major rabi crop, was at Rs1,100 per quintal in the last season.

MSP is the price that the government pays to farmers while procuring their produce. The Centre procures wheat and rice from farmers for public distribution system (PDS).

As per the latest revision, the MSP of masoor dal has been raised by Rs380 per quintal to Rs2,250 and that of gram by Rs340 per quintal to Rs2,100 a quintal.

The government has raised the MSP of pulses substantially this year to boost production and cut dependence on imports.

The agriculture ministry is targeting to increase the pulses production to 16.5 million tonnes in 2010-11 from about 14.5 million tonnes in the previous year. India, the world's largest producer of pulses, imports 3.5-4 million tonnes to meet domestic demand of 18-19 million tonnes.

The CCEA also approved increase in mustard MSP by Rs20 to Rs1,850 per quintal. Safflower MSP has gone up to Rs1,800 from Rs1680 a quintal. Barley MSP has been increased to Rs780 from Rs750 per quintal.

The hike in MSP is based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Higher support prices for kharif pulses had resulted in a sharp jump in acreage and production is estimated to rise to 6 million tonnes in the kharif season of the 2010-11 crop year from 4.3 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

When asked about nominal hike given in mustard by Rs20 a quintal, Mr Chidambaram said, "In some of these cases market prices are much higher than MSP. The MSP is based on CACP recommendations. If there is shortage, what would happen (is that) the market prices would be much more higher".

In the case of cereals, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other designated state agencies will continue to provide price support to the farmers as in the past.

Co-operative major Nafed will continue to be the nodal agency for procurement of oilseeds and pulses and losses, if any, will be fully reimbursed by the Centre.


SBI raises lending rate by 10 bps to 7.6%

Mumbai: The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) today increased its base rate or the minimum lending rate for the new borrowers by 10 basis points (bps) to 7.6%, a move that would make all kinds of advances, including corporate loans, costlier, reports PTI.

The bank has revised the base rate below which bank cannot offer loans, upwards by 10 basis points from 7.5% to 7.6%, effective from 21st October 2010, SBI informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

This is the first review of the base rate since it was introduced in July this year. As per the Reserve Bank of India RBI guideline, banks have to review their base rate every quarter.

With the increase in base rate, all kinds of loans excluding housing and auto loans would be dearer by at least 10 basis points (0.1%).

Currently, SBI is offering teaser home and car loans till December and rates would be as announced earlier.

The revision in base rate follows the RBI's move to raise short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates in its September monetary review.

In order to bring in more transparency, the base rate was introduced as replacement for the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) from 1st July this year.

SBI has also raised BPLR for the existing customers by 25 basis points to 12.5% from earlier 12.25%.

The new rate would be effective from tomorrow.

Earlier this month, SBI hiked fixed deposit rates by up to 75 basis points. The bank raised deposit rates from 25-75 basis points (0.25%-0.75%) across various maturities.

For 91-180 days term deposits, SBI provides 5.5% interest, up 75 basis points from the existing rate.

Interest rate on fixed deposits with a maturity period between one year and 554 days was raised by 25 basis points to 7%, while deposits for 555 days would attract 7.5%.

The interest rate on term deposits of between 556 days and 1,000 days under different slabs has been increased by 50 basis points, to 7.75%.


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