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  • 10 March, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

National Social Assistance Programme

National Social Assistance Programme

  • NSAP stands for National Social Assistance Programme. NSAP was launched on 15th August 1995. It is under the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) represents a significant step toward the fulfilment of the Directive Principles in Articles 41 and 42 of the Constitution recognizing the concurrent responsibility of the Central and State Governments in the matter.
  • In particular, 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 and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development.

Objective of NSAP

  • National Social Assistance Programme is a social security and welfare programme to provide support to aged persons, widows, disabled persons and bereaved families on death of primary bread winner, belonging to below poverty line households.

Components of NSAP

The NSAP at its inception in 1995 had three components namely

  • National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS,
  • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and
  • National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS). The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (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. This scheme aimed at providing food security to meet the requirement of those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under the NOAPS.

In February 2009, two new Schemes known as Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) were introduced.

Presently NSAP comprises five schemes, namely –

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): For individuals aged 60 years and above living Below the Poverty Line. They shall get Rs. 200 per month for beneficiaries aged 60-79 and Rs. 500 per month for those 80 years and above.
  • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS): Widows aged 40 years and above living Below the Poverty Line. They shall get Rs. 300 per month and Rs. 500 for those 80 years and above.
  • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS): Individuals aged 18 years and above with more than 80% disability and living below the poverty line. They shall get Rs. 300 per month and Rs. 500 for those 80 years and above.
  • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS): In the event of the death of a breadwinner, the family will receive a lump sum assistance of Rs. 20000. The breadwinner should have been between 18-60 years of age. The assistance would be provided in every case of the death of a breadwinner in a household.
  • Annapurna Scheme: This scheme aims to provide food security to meet the requirement of those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under the IGNOAPS. Under the Annapurna Scheme, 10 kg of free rice is provided every month to each beneficiary.

Proposal to increase the pensions of NSAP

  • The Centre must increase the “meagre” pensions provided for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people, said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development in its report submitted to the Lok Sabha.
  • The panel also slammed the government’s “laxity in raising the amount”, pointing out that recommendations to increase the sums had been made in the last two years as well.
  • The panel pointed out that it had previously urged the increase of these miniscule pensions in its reports on the Department of Rural Development’s (DoRD) demand for grants in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Source: TH

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