‘JK yet to register 98.5% eligible old persons under national scheme’


Srinagar, Jan 23: The J&K Government is yet to register 98 per cent old persons under a centrally-sponsored scheme on pension, a study has revealed.
The study conducted by the National Level Monitoring (NLM), a central agency tasked to look into the issue, has revealed that the State’s Social Welfare Department was yet to bring 98 percent eligible old persons under the ambit of the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS). The NLM had been mandated with looking into the delivery of the scheme at grassroots and identify the lacunas and discrepancies therein, if any. The centrally-sponsored scheme is meant for old people living the Below Poverty Line who are eligible for a monthly pension of Rs 325.  The NLM report says the agency visited 135 villages in April-May 2012 for sampling. These include Anantnag (Islamabad), Budgam, Baramulla, Doda, Jammu, Kargil, Kathua, Kupwara, Poonch, Pulwama, Rajouri, Srinagar and Udhampur. “It was found that only 2645 beneficiaries were drawing old age pension and at least in 98.5 per cent of these villages eligible old persons not yet covered under the scheme,” the report reads.  A senior officer in the Social Welfare Department said that lack of adequate staff at district and tehsil levels has hit the scheme badly. “The scheme sadly doesn’t have any provision for engaging separate staff at the district or tehsil level. With the result, it becomes difficult to handle the scheme properly. We are already under-staffed. So it will take us time to collect data on old age person in the State,” the officer, wishing anonymity, said.
The officer said the scheme has no clear-cut deadline for submission of forms by potential beneficiaries. “We continue to receive forms throughout the year, which makes it ultimately difficult to make final selection of the beneficiaries at the end of the year,” the officer said.
When contacted, the Director Social Welfare Department Bashir Ahmed Bhat, said: “We spend Rs 9 rupees every month on old age people but problem is that we cannot register them beyond a limit. The centre as well as the state government has put a cap on it.” Director SWD Jammu, MH Batti, did not agree with the findings of the report. “All those people who have approached us have been covered. There might be some rare cases which haven’t been covered. I doubt the findings of this report,” he claimed.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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