National Social Assistance Programme
- Launched in 1995, the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a welfare programme being administered by the Ministry of Rural Development.
- This programme is being implemented in rural areas as well as urban areas.
- NSAP represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of Article 41 of the Constitution of India which directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development.
- Presently NSAP comprises of five schemes, namely –
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS),
- Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS),
- Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS),
- National Family Benefit Scheme NFBS) and
Eligibility and scale of assistance
- For getting benefits under NSAP the applicant must belong to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family according to the criteria prescribed by the Govt. of India. The other eligibility criteria and the scale of central assistance under the sub – schemes of NSAP are as follows. Besides the central assistance, states / UT contribute an equal amount as their share:
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): A monthly pension of Rs.200/- to old age BPL persons in age group 60-79 years and Rs.500/- to old age BPL persons of age of 80 years and more.
- Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS): A monthly pension of Rs.300/- to BPL widows aged 40-79 years and Rs.500/- upon attaining the age of 80 years.
- Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS): A monthly pension of Rs.300/- is given to disabled BPL persons aged 18-79 years and Rs.500/- upon attaining the age of 80 years.
- National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS): A one-time assistance of Rs.20,000/- to the surviving members of a BPL family upon the death of the primary breadwinner.
- Annapurna Scheme: 10 KG food grains (wheat or rice) is given to those BPL elderly who remain uncovered under IGNOAPS.
Why in News?
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development in its report submitted to the Lok Sabha said that the Centre must increase the “meagre” pensions provided for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people under the National Social Assistance Programme.
Issues with MGNREGA scheme
- The panel also criticised the Department of Rural Development for delays and disparities in the payment of wages and unemployment allowances under the flagship MGNREGA scheme.
- The panel noted “the callous approach of the State Governments in the proper implementation of the provision of unemployment allowance”, finding that the provision is not implemented in letter and spirit at the grass root level.
- Another issue with MGNREGA is the disparity in wages in different States, noting that the Constitution provides for equal pay for equal work.
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme is the largest social security scheme in the world — guaranteeing 100 days of work to any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.
- The act makes it obligatory for the State to give rural households work on demand. In case such employment is not provided within 15 days of registration, the applicant becomes eligible for an unemployment allowance.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
- One-third of the stipulated workforce must be women.
- The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.
- The wages are revised according to the Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL).
- Work site facilities such as crèche, drinking water, shade have to be provided.
- Social Audit has to be done by the Gram Sabha.
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