PC to examine hike in pension

NEW DELHI, Nov 24: Planning Commission has said that it would examine the proposal of Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to increase the amount of pension under various social welfare schemes of the Government.
In an apparent bid to woo electorate ahead of 2014 general elections, Ramesh reportedly wrote to the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry to hike pension amount under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).
“What he (Jairam Ramesh) is actually asking for is a revision of the NSAP. He has made some proposals. It’s a proposal, lets see. We will examine,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told.
The proposal to hike pension is expected to impose an annual additional burden of Rs 7,000 crore on the exchequer.
Ahluwalia said that Ramesh wanted to have an increase in pension amount in the different categories under the NSAP.
“Well I have no additional money that I can give him in the middle of the…Year. Next year, we are not going to have a normal budget,” Ahluwalia said.
However, he said a procedure needs to be followed to change a scheme and that has to go through Expenditure Finance Committee as well.
According to reports, Government is planning to raise the social assistance to the elderly, widows and disabled people under the NSAP.
This, according to reports, has been planned to woo the voters ahead of 2014 general polls.
NSAP, which was introduced in 1995, is a social assistance programme aimed to ensure minimum national standard for social benefits to the poor.
The programme currently comprises 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.
Apart from writing letter to the Planning Commission, Ramesh has also sent a letter to the Finance Ministry to seek a revision in the scheme. (PTI)


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