The Delhi government on Friday decided to increase the monthly pension of senior citizens, widows and disabled by Rs 1,000 each, a decision that will benefit lakhs of residents.
The government also decided to upwardly revise the eligibility criteria for the beneficiaries to apply under the scheme, which will bring more people under the pension net.
Currently, just 4.52 lakh people are covered under the scheme, while the upper limit allowed under the scheme is 5.30 lakh, officials said.
“The cabinet approved the increase in old age pension, disability and widow pension by Rs 1,000 each. For old age pension, those between the age group of 60-69 years will get Rs 2,000 as pension now. Senior citizens above 70 years will now get Rs 2,500 as pension compared to Rs 1,500 earlier. Disability pension has been raised from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 while pension for widows and destitute women has been raised from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said after the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday.
While the disability pension was last revised in 2012, pension of senior citizens were last revised in 2011 and 2008.
The family income limit for availing the pension is currently set at Rs 60,000 and Rs 75,000 per annum for old age pension and disability pension, respectively. The limit has now been raised to Rs 1 lakh as the incomes and the cost of living index have significantly increased since the past revisions, officials said.
“It is expected that approximately 1 lakh new applications will be received under Old Age Pension Scheme within one month — January 2017 — for who pension will become due from February 2017. Accordingly, an additional expenditure of Rs 154 crore is expected to be incurred on five lakh old age pension beneficaries for the remaining four months of 2016-17,” an official said.
Hence, the revised budget estimate under Old Age Pension would be Rs 765 crore. For the same rate of assistance, budget requirement for 2017-18 will be Rs 1,431 crore for 5.30 lakh beneficiaries.