New Delhi: Recommending removal of poverty line criteria while implementing the Old Age Pension scheme, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said such conditions have harmed eligibility of some deserving families.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ramesh has recommended streamlining the disbursal system of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) under which Rs 200 per month is given to three crore people over the age of 60.
The minister raised the issue after a meeting with the convenors of Pension Parishad Baba Adhav and Aruna Roy few days back.
"I agree with the Pension Parishad that use of BPL and APL criteria should be done away with. We are proposing to do away with the BPL and APL criteria in the sanitation program and in the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) as well," Ramesh wrote in the letter.
He further added that he has recommended the same for the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY).
"Even in the IAY, I have written to Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission that the BPL and APL criteria has only ended up ensuring that deserving families do not get that benefit," Ramesh said.
On timely disbursement of pension, he noted, "Pensioners do not get monthly payments but get payments bunched once every few months. Immediate task is to restructure the pension payment architecture so that pensioners get pension amount on an assured date in the bank account every month."
The Rural Development Ministry has already submitted proposal in this regard to the Finance Ministry.
He disagreed with the Parishad`s suggestion to lower the eligibility age for pension from the present 60 to 55 for men and 50 for women.