To widen the scope of social security scheme for the poor senior citizens, the government is set to revise the rules for old age pension.
The ministry of rural development has proposed to lower the age of those, who can avail of the old age pension, from 65 to 60 years and increase the monthly allowance from Rs 200 to Rs 500 a month.
The Cabinet is likely to consider the proposal on Thursday, which aims to meet the high cost of living due to inflation. This will be for the first time since 2007, when the scheme was launched, that the pension amount is being increased.
The Central government has the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension as a popular scheme to provide money to senior citizens from below the poverty line to sustain themselves. This is apart from the subsidised food grains the poor are entitled to every month under the government's public distribution system.
The ministry's proposal would mean additional coverage of about one crore persons under the direct subsidy scheme and also enhance their monthly income. Any person who earns less than Rs 589 in the urban areas and below R450 in the rural areas will get benefit.
The poor can still get more under the scheme as the Central government allows state governments to provide more money. State governments such as Delhi give old age pension of more than Rs 1,000 a month.