No more direct bank transfers; all MBPY beneficiaries in Odisha to get social security pension in cash from June

The Odisha government has rolled back its decision to provide social security pension under Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) through direct benefit transfer (DBT) to facilitate the beneficiaries to receive the assistance in cash from next month.

While over 28.5 lakh beneficiaries, including old age people above 60 years, destitute and widows, have been enrolled under the MBPY, nearly 15 lakh of them were receiving the amount in their bank account through DBT. The remaining beneficiaries used to get assistance in cash.

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“Many old and disabled beneficiaries are facing difficulties in withdrawing/collecting cash from their bank accounts. Some beneficiaries have also not received pension in time due to technical glitch in the portal,” said state Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) Secretary Bhaskar Shama in a letter to all collectors.

Sharma said that keeping the above situation in mind, the state government has decided that all MBPY beneficiaries will receive pensions in cash from June.

The decision has been taken following reports from across Odisha about the struggle of elderly people in receiving their monthly pension. Recently a video of a 70-year-old woman from Jharigaon village in Nabarangpur district walking barefoot for several kilometres with the help of a broken chair to receive a pension amount had gone viral. It also caught the attention of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Many such reports from other parts also came to light.

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The decision also assumes significance in view of the fact that half of Odisha’s 6,798 panchayats do not have bank branches.

Instruction has been issued by the SSEPD department to disburse the pension amount to all MPBY beneficiaries on 15th of every month, which is also being observed as Jana Seva Diwas. Older and disabled pensioners, who cannot move to disbursement places, will receive pension at their doorsteps as the officials will go to them to deliver the amount.

The district collectors have been asked to involve members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in disbursement of pension under MBPY.

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The Naveen Patnaik government had launched the MBPY in January 2008 in line with the Centre’s National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) that covers around 20 lakh, to include additional beneficiaries (over 28.5 lakh) under the scheme. Under MBPY, the state government provides Rs 500 per month to eligible individuals after attaining 60 years of old and others, including differently-abled, widows, transgenders and destitute; and Rs 700 per month for those exceeding the age of 80 years.

The SSEPD secretary said that the NSAP beneficiaries will continue to receive their monthly assistance through DBT as usual.

The MBPY is one of the popular schemes of the BJD government that helps to garner support of the elderly community during polls.

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