Centre proposes to hike monthly pensions for the elderly poor, disabled and widows


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NSAP

Mains level: Condition of elderly persons and need for care and rehabilitation


Proposed hike in Pensions

  1. The Rural Development Ministry has proposed that the monthly pensions under NSAP.
  2. For the elderly poor, disabled and widows pensions are to be increased from the current ₹200 to ₹800.
  3. For those above the age of 80, the proposal is to increase the pension from ₹500 to ₹1,200 a month.

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

  1. The NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development.
  2. It came into effect from 15th August,1995 represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the DPSP in Article 41 of the Constitution.
  3. It aims to provide financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  4. It currently covers more than three crore people who are below the poverty line (BPL), including about 80 lakh widows, 10 lakh disabled and 2.2 crore elderly.
  5. Those who are older than 80 years are paid ₹500 per month, while the rest are given ₹200 per month. These amounts have not been revised since 2007.
  6. State governments add their own contribution, ranging from less than ₹500 to ₹2000 per month.
  7. The scheme will need a total budget of ₹30,000 crore in order to increase the pension amounts to ₹800 and ₹1200.

SECC: A must need reference

  1. The government aims to enact a comprehensive social security and protection programme to reach every household of old, widows, orphaned children, divyaang and deprived as per the Socio Economic Caste Census.
  2. However, the NSAP uses BPL Criteria to identify beneficiaries.
  3. If SECC data was used to determine the number of people covered under the scheme instead of the current BPL criteria, coverage would double to about six crore people.
  4. Several States, including Rajasthan, Telangana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have already shifted to SECC data for their own pension schemes.
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