A huge fifty-eight million elderly people are without pension or any other financial assistance. As stated by the ‘State of Pensions in India Report 2018’, a paltry amount of Rs.200 per month by the Central government reaches just 22.3 million people. The Report further reveals that only 14 states give a monthly pension of Rs. 500 per person. This latest report speaks volumes on the state of affairs of pension policy and pensioners.
National Social Security Programme (NSAP), which comes under the Rural Development Ministry, runs the National Old Age Pension Scheme for people aged above 60 from below-poverty-line households.
According to the report, the states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Delhi and Union Territory Andaman & Nicobar Islands provide the pension of Rs. 2,000 monthly. HelpAge India Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mathew Cherian said “a pension of Rs. 2,000 per month per person will cost just 1.97% of the GDP.” At present, there are around 8 crore people entitled to the old age pension of Rs. 200 per month, but it reaches only 2.2 crores of them, Cherian added.
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According to a report in IndiaSpend, “the centre pays Rs 200 per month under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) to every Indian over the age of 60 and living under the poverty line.”
The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana is a pension scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for senior citizens. Under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vanden Yojana’ for pensioners above the age of 60, the investment limit had been doubled to 15 lakh and the subscription period had been extended by two years. By March 2018, 2.23 lakh elderly had subscribed the scheme. The scheme is now extended to March 2020. The question is ‘does this scheme in any way benefit those pensioners who are getting less than Rs 500 per month?’
India’s pension schemes should be re-looked and scrutinized through the latest data. The elderly are the most vulnerable. The voice of the elderly pensioners should be heard. There are life insurance policies and provident funds also to be looked into.