Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limits of its economic capacity and development. In accordance with the Directive Principles of State Policy, the
Government of India introduced National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) in 1995.
The NSAP aims at ensuring minimum national standard for social assistance in addition to the benefits that states are currently providing or would provide in future. At present, NSAP comprises of the following five schemes for BPL persons:-
i) Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS);
ii) Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS);
iii) Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS);
iv) National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS); and
Under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) 200 pm per beneficiary is provided to persons of 65 years or higher and belonging to a BPL family according to criteria prescribed by Government of India. The States are urged to contribute another Rs.200 from their own resources so that a pensioner could get at least 400 per month. Widow pension is provided under IGNWPS to the BPL widows of age group of 40-64 years. Disability pension is provided to the multiple or severely disabled persons of age group of 18-64 years. Central assistance of 200/- per month per beneficiary is provided under Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) and Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) The States are urged to contribute another 200 from their own resources so that a pensioner could get at least Rs.400 per month. Under National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) grant of 10,000 in case of natural or accidental death of the “primary breadwinner” is provided to the bereaved BPL household
under this scheme. The primary breadwinner specified in the scheme, whether male or female, had to be a member of the household whose earning contributed substantially to the total household income. Under Annapurna Scheme 10 kgs of food grains per month is provided free of cost to the person who though eligible remained uncovered under Old Age Pension Scheme.
NSAP has been transferred to State plan since 2002-03 and identification of beneficiaries and sanction of benefit under schemes of NSAP is being done by the concerned State Governments. Identification of beneficiaries, sanction and disbursement of pension is the responsibility of the State Governments. Central Government provides only Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to the States @ Rs.200 per month per beneficiary.