Direct Transfer of pension schemes will cover all states by end of 2013- Jairam

The Minister for Rural Development Shri Jairam Ramesh said that Direct Benefit Transfer mainly with regard to pension schemes will cover all the States in the country by the end of this year. Briefing the media here, the Minister said that at present there are 2.7 crore beneficiaries of pension schemes like old age pension, widow pension and disability pension, which will increase up to 8 crore by the end of 12th Five Year Plan. The briefing followed the submission of the Task Force Report on National Social Assistance Programme headed by Dr Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission to the Minister. The recommendations of the Task Force relate mainly to-- 1) eligibility criteria, 2) quantum of assistance, 3) processes relating to identification, sanction and disbursement and 4) strengthening the administrative structure. The Task Force recommended a phased approach in enhancement of pensions as well as increasing coverage. Phase-I recommendations are to be made effective immediately from 2013-14 and Phase-II recommendations from 2014-15 to 2016-17. The ultimate objective to be achieved is that all households eligible for benefits under the National Food Security Act will also be provided pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme by the end of the Plan Period (2016-17).

Sh Ramesh said, the recommendations like enhancing old age pension from Rs 200 to Rs 300 and revising the eligibility norms for widow pension by reducing minimum age from 40 years to 18 years and removing age restrictions and reduction of disability level from 80% to 40 % will be taken before the cabinet soon.

Source : PIB

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