The Union government will provide three months’ pension in advance to around three-crore widows, senior citizens and differently-abled in first week of April to help them face the novel coronavirus crisis.
The government provides a monthly pension to the poor senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP). The program is run by the Union Rural Development Ministry.
Under the program, the government transfers pensions directly to the bank accounts of 2.98-crore beneficiaries. The Central government has now decided to transfer three months pension in advance to all the 2.98-crore beneficiaries by the first week of April, news agency PTI quoted sources as saying.
Under NSAP, Rs 200 per month is provided to senior citizens from 60-79 years of age and Rs 500 per month to those of 80 years and above. The government provides Rs 300 per month to widows in the age group of 40-79 years and Rs 500 to 80 years and above. The pension amount for differently-abled, is Rs 300 per month for those up to 79 years of age and Rs 500 for 80 years and above.
Apart from the above, an ex gratia amount of Rs 1,000 over the next three months will be given in two instalments to these beneficiaries, according to the announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman on Thursday. The ex-gratia amount will be over and above the monthly pension provided to senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities.
“There are around 3 crore aged, widows and people in Divyang category who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months,” a Finance Ministry statement said yesterday.
The Central government will also provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month to a total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia for next three months. Also, under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.