Odisha orders linking of pensioners accounts with Aadhaar by April 2020
Pension payments to close to 70 lakh Odisha residents under the state-run Madhu Babu Pension Yojana and the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) will become difficult from April if their Aadhaar number is not linked with the social welfare scheme accounts, an official said on Thursday.
Odisha’s Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has written to the district collectors asking them to complete the beneficiaries’ Aadhaar seeding by March 15, 2020.
“At present, Aadhaar seeding is about 91 per cent in case of NSAP and about 73 per cent in the case of Madhu Babu Pension Yojana in Odisha and it needs to be enhanced to 100% immediately for ensuring complete transparency in respect of these two schemes,” said the directive by department’s principal secretary Bhaskar Sharma. The department is the nodal unit for disbursement of state and central pensions.
Currently, over 21 lakh people benefit under the National Old Age Assistance scheme and about 48 lakh people benefit from the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana.
Under the NSAP, the widows, elderly and others are given monetary assistance under the Indira Gandhi Pension Yojana. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana assists elderly, widows, unmarried BPL women above the age of 30 years, differently-abled, HIV widows, as well as those living with HIV, with a monthly pension of Rs 500. For those over the age of 80 years, a pension of Rs 700 is given.
The beneficiaries whose Aadhaar verification/seeding is pending will be asked to mandatorily bring a copy of their Aadhaar card when they come to receive their pension on January 15. Those who fail to bring the Aadhaar card will be given another opportunity. Those without Aadhaar card will be taken to the local Block office for submission of particulars for the issue of Aadhaar card.
The Naveen Patnaik government in 2017 had, however, opposed the compulsory linking of Aadhaar with the social welfare accounts arguing payment made through banks would bring misery to the beneficiaries.
“Any imposition of the system of bank payment will cause undue and unavoidable hardship to the vulnerable beneficiaries. Odisha had conducted a survey among the beneficiaries and we found that pensioners were not willing to accept pension through banks and post offices,” Patnaik had written in a letter to PM Modi December 2017.
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