National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NSAP

Mains level : Various pension schemes in India

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development has slammed the Centre’s meagre pension allocations under National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

What did the new report flag?

  • The panel slammed the government’s laxity in raising the amount, pointing out the recommendations to increase the sums.
  • It observed the meagre amount of assistance ranging from ₹200 to ₹500 per month under the different components of this Scheme.
  • The panel also flagged delays and statewide disparities in the payment of wages and unemployment allowances under the flagship MGNREGA scheme.


  • NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the GoI that provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • It was launched on 15th August 1995.
  • The scheme represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles in Article 41.
  • Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement.
  • For getting benefits under NSAP the applicant must belong to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family.

Check this PYQ from CSP 2012:

Q. Who among the following can join the National Pension System (NPS)?

(a) Resident Indian citizens only

(b) Persons of age from 21 to 55 only

(c) All-State Government employees joining the services after the date of notification by the respective State Governments

(d) All Central Governments Employees including those of Armed Forces joining the services on or after 1st April 2004

Components of NSAP

  • The NSAP at its inception in 1995 had three components namely
  1. National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS,
  2. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and
  3. National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
  • The NMBS was subsequently transferred on 1st April 2001 from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • On 1st April 2000, a new Scheme known as Annapurna Scheme was launched.
  • In February 2009, two new Schemes are known as Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) were introduced.

Presently NSAP comprises of five schemes, namely –

  1. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
  2. Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
  3. Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
  4. National Family Benefit Scheme NFBS) and
  5. Annapurna
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