Young widows will come under pension scheme, says Jairam

Young widows will come under pension scheme, says Jairam

 The young and poor women rendered helpless due to the untimely death of their husbands may now be able to hope for a bit of financial assistance from the Government, as the Union Ministry of Rural Development is keen to lower the age-bar for the pension scheme for the widows.

Minister of Rural Development (MoRD) Jairam Ramesh, has proposed that the lower age limit of the beneficiaries of the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) should be brought down from 40 years to 18 years.

The IGNWPS at present covers widows in the age-band of 40-59 years. But Ramesh said that the lower age limit for the scheme should be brought down to include the poor and young widows among the beneficiaries.

The MoRD also proposed a hike in the rate of pension for the widows from the existing Rs 200 to Rs 500 per month. “What’s the great job the Government is doing if it is paying Rs 200 to a widow every month? I have proposed to raise it at least to Rs 500,” said Ramesh.

The MoRD has in fact proposed to raise the monthly pension to an individual beneficiary to Rs 500 for the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme too.

Ramesh said that the Union Ministry of Finance was considering the proposals of the MoRD at present.

It was estimated that lowering of the age limit would benefit about an additional 72.32 lakh persons in the age group of 60-64 years and living below the poverty line. It was also estimated that 26.49 lakh persons above the age of 80 years and living below the poverty line, would become eligible to receive enhanced central assistance at the rate of Rs. 500 per month.

An additional fund of Rs 1736 crore was estimated to be required for providing old age pension at the rate of Rs 200 per month per beneficiary in the age group of 60-64 years and Rs. 953 crore for providing enhanced pension at the rate of Rs. 500 per month per beneficiary of age 80 years and above. Thus the total additional requirement was estimated to be Rs. 2,770 crore including three per cent administrative expenses.

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