New Delhi: In the midst of talk of mid-term elections, Government on 13 September took a slew of decisions helping the common man including one to expand the ambit of payment of old age pension to all BPL citizens above 65 years.
The Union Cabinet, at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a proposal to modify the eligibility criteria under the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) so as to bring under its purview all those citizens who were 65 years old or more, and below poverty line.
Earlier, the scheme was applicable only to “destitutes” above age 65, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters after the meeting.
He said the scheme would be implemented in light of the announcement made by the Prime Minister in the Independence Day speech.
The scheme, to be launched on the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi on 19 November, was estimated to cost Rs4,300 crore in the current financial year.
Replying to questions, Dasmunsi said there were about 1.57 crore people who would benefit from the decision, as per which they would get Rs400 per month as pension.
In another decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) extended the mid-day meal scheme to children in the upper primary stage, that is from Classes VI to VIII, in government and government-aided schools in 3,479 educationally backward blocks this year.
The ambitious scheme, which was so far limited to primary stage only, would be extended to all areas across the country in the next fiscal, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, adding this fulfills a promise made in this year’s budget.