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
- The Rural Development Ministry has proposed that the monthly pensions under NSAP.
- For the elderly poor, disabled and widows pensions are to be increased from the current ₹200 to ₹800.
- 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)
- The NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development.
- It came into effect from 15th August,1995 represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the DPSP in Article 41 of the Constitution.
- It aims to provide financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
- 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.
- 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.
- State governments add their own contribution, ranging from less than ₹500 to ₹2000 per month.
- 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
- 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.
- However, the NSAP uses BPL Criteria to identify beneficiaries.
- 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.
- Several States, including Rajasthan, Telangana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have already shifted to SECC data for their own pension schemes.