Age bar for widows to be lowered for central pension scheme-Jairam Ramesh

The Government today said that the age bar for the widows, who are beneficiaries of the central pension scheme will be lowered from the existing 40 to 18 years. At present only the widows under the age bracket of 40 to 59 years are entitled for the benefits. Delivering a keynote address here on the subject Agrarian Single Women: Distress, Access to Livelihood, Services and Justice, Union Rural Development Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh said four crore such women in the country face a bleak future as there is no sufficient help forthcoming for them. The Minister also expressed hope that the pension amount for the widows, old-aged and physically challenged persons will also be raised from the existing 200 rupees per month to 500 rupees per month as he had already taken up the matter with the Finance Minister. He said, all attempts will be made to provide more and more jobs to the single women under MGNREGA and all such people who had worked for 15 days in a year under the scheme will be entitled for availing the benefits of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. He informed that out of 12 crore beneficiaries of the scheme so far, 25 percent of them are women-headed households. Shri Jairam Ramesh assured the delegates that the problems of the single women will be adequately addressed in the 12th Five year plan. 

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