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National Social Assistance Programme

National Social Assistance Programme

NSAP stands for the National Social Assistance Programme. The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) launched on August 15, 1995, stands as a significant initiative in line with fulfilling the Directive Principles outlined in Article 41 and 42 of the Constitution. Article 41 of the Indian Constitution emphasizes the shared responsibility of both the Central and State Governments in addressing issues related to unemployment, The Constitution directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens within the limits of its economic capacity and development, particularly in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, disablement, and other instances of undeserved want.

Objective of NSAP

The National Social Assistance Programme serves as a vital social security and welfare initiative aimed at extending support to vulnerable demographics including the older people widows, individuals with disabilities, and families who have lost their primary breadwinner. Targeting households living below the poverty line, the program endeavors to provide essential assistance to those in need.

Components of NSAP

The NSAP at its inception in 1995 had three components namely

  • National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS,
  • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and
  • National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
  • The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) underwent a transfer on April 1, 2001, transitioning from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The Annapurna Scheme, which launched on April 1, 2000, aimed to ensure food security for older citizens who, despite being eligible, were not covered under the NOAPS. It addressed their nutritional needs in a more humanizing way.
  • In February 2009, the introduction of two new schemes took place: the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) and the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS). These initiatives aimed to financially assist and support widows and individuals with disabilities, respectively, helping them directly.

Presently NSAP comprises of five schemes, namely –

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS),
  • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS),
  • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS),
  • National Family Benefit Scheme NFBS) and
  • Annapurna

Eligibility and scale of assistance

To qualify for benefits under NSAP, applicants must be part of a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family, as defined by the Government of India’s criteria. Alongside meeting the BPL criteria, applicants must also fulfill other eligibility requirements specific to each sub-scheme under NSAP. The scale of central assistance varies for each sub-scheme under NSAP.

IGNOAPS (Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme)

  • The eligible age for IGNOAPS is 60 years.
  • The pension is Rs.200 p.m. for persons between 60 years and 79 years.
  • For persons who are 80 years and above the pension is Rs.500/ – per month.

Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)

  • The eligible age is 40 years and the pension is Rs.300 per month.
  • After attaining the age of 80 years, the beneficiary will get Rs.500/ – per month.

Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)

  • Eligibility for pension starts at the age of 18 and above.
  • Disability level must be at least 80%.
  • The monthly pension amount is Rs.300.
  • Upon reaching the age of 80, the pension amount increases to Rs.500 per month.
  • Dwarfs are included as an eligible category for this pension scheme.

National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)

  • A lump sum assistance of 20,000/- will be provided to the bereaved household upon the death of the breadwinner, regardless of the cause of death.
  • A homemaker within the family is also considered a breadwinner for eligibility.
  • The family benefit will be disbursed to the surviving member determined to be the head of the household after a local inquiry.
  • The term “household” encompasses the spouse, minor children, unmarried daughters, and dependent parents.
  • In the event of the death of an unmarried adult, the household includes minor siblings and dependent parents.
  • The deceased breadwinner must have been between 18 and 60 years old at the time of death.
  • Assistance will be provided for every case of breadwinner death within a family.

Annapurna Scheme

  • The scheme provides 10 kgs of food grains (either wheat or rice) per month per beneficiary.
  • Its primary goal is to ensure food security for eligible older people individuals who have not been covered under the IGNOAPS (Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme).
  • Eligible beneficiaries receive the food grains to meet their monthly dietary needs.
  • The scheme aims to address the food requirements of individuals who may not have access to adequate nutrition through other means.
  • By providing essential food items, the scheme contributes to the well-being and nutritional security of older persons in need.

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