National Social Assistance Programme
The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a welfare programme being administered by the Ministry of Rural Development. This programme is being implemented in rural areas as well as urban areas. NSAP represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India which enjoin upon the State to undertake within its means a number of welfare measures. 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.
The programme was first launched on 15th August 1995 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme comprising the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
Selection of Beneficiaries
The Gram Panchayat / Municipalities are expected to play an active role in the identification of the beneficiaries under the three schemes.
Apart from the disbursal of benefits through the accounts of the beneficiaries in Banks or in Post Office Savings Banks or through Postal Money Order the assistance under NOAPS, may also be disbursed in public meetings such as Gram Sabha meetings in rural areas and by neighbourhood / mohalla committees in urban areas.
Presently NSAP now comprises of the following five schemes:-
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): All persons of 60 years (and above) and belonging to below the poverty line category according to the criteria prescribed by the Government of India time to time, are eligible to be a beneficiary of the scheme. The pension amount at present is 400 per person per month per person for age group 60 to 79 years and Rs. 500 per person from age group 80 and above. The states are supposed to contribute an equal amount vis-a-vis the scheme
- Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS): BPL widows aged 40-59 years are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs. 300/-.
- Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS): BPL persons aged 18-59 years with severe and multiple disabilities are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs. 300/-.
- National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS): Under the scheme a BPL household is entitled to lump sum amount of money on the death of primary breadwinner aged between 18 and 64 years. The amount of assistance is Rs. 20.000/-.
- Annapurna: Under the scheme, 10 kg of food grains per month are provided free of cost to those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under NOAPS.