National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a welfare programme that is administered by the Ministry of Rural Development. This programme has been implemented in rural as well as urban areas around the country. The Government of India initiated the NSAP in the year 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme in order to fulfil the principles prescribed in Article 41 of the Constitution of India. The NSAP aims to ensure a minimum national standard for social assistance along with the benefits that the respective States are offering. This article talks about the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) and its various essentials.

The Programme

The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles of the State Policy written in the Constitution of India which enjoins upon the State to undertake a number of welfare measures within its means. Specifically, Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to offer public assistance to its people who face unemployment, sickness, old age and disablement, and in other specific cases, those within the parameters of its economic capacity and development. The programme was initially launched on the 15th of August, 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme targeting the destitute, and to be identified by the States or Union Territories, with the objective of providing appropriate financial support.

Key Principles of the Programme

The following are the key principles of the National Social Assistance Programme.

  • Universal coverage of eligible persons and pro-active identification.
  • Transparent and people-friendly process for application, sanction, appeal and review.
  • Regular monthly disbursement of pensions and benefits preferably at the door-step of the beneficiaries.
  • Electronic transfer
  • Robust Social Audit and Annual Verification.
  • Key Role for Local Self Government Institution
  • IT-based Management Information System (MIS)
  • Robust Grievance
  • Redressal System
  • Automatic Convergence

Current Schemes of NSAP

As a part of NSAP, five different schemes are being implemented. The eligibility criteria for each programme varies accordingly. The process of the beneficiary selection and approval procedure are more or less the same for all the schemes under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

Scheme NameEligibility Criteria
A monthly pension of INR 200 is provided to all persons of 60-79 years from the Below Poverty Line families. For individuals above the age of 80 years, the pension amount is INR 500.
Under this scheme, BPL widows between the age of 40-79 years, have been entitled to a monthly pension of INR 300, which is enhanced to INR 500 for widows above 80 years of age.
The individuals with severe and multiple disabilities (including dwarfs) with about 80% and above disability from BPL individuals and families in the age group of 18-79 years are provided with a monthly pension of INR 300, which is enhanced to INR 500 to the age group of 80 years of age and more.
National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
  • Households that have lost their bread-winner between the age group of 18-59 years of the family falling under the BPL are given one-time lump sum assistance of INR 20,000.
  • A bread-winner can be defined as either a male or a female adult on whose income their family’s subsistence is dependent on.
  • The family benefit would be paid to the surviving members of the household of the deceased, who after a local inquiry, should be found to be the head of the household.
Under this scheme, 10 KGS of food grains, be it wheat or rice, per month, are offered free of cost to those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under IGNOAPS

Additional Assistance by the State Government

Along with the assistance offered by the Ministry of Rural Development, the State Governments have been directed to provide additional assistance to eligible beneficiaries. This would offer the beneficiaries with a decent level of assistance, and this would amount as an equal contribution in all the schemes. As a result, many of the State Governments have increased their assistance as given in the table below.

StatesAmount per Individual per MonthStatesAmount per Individual per Month
MeghalayaINR 50MaharashtraINR 400
MizoramINR 50SikkimINR 400
Madhya PradeshINR 75UttarakhandINR 600
ChhattisgarhINR 100Andhra PradeshINR 800
OdishaINR 100Dadra & Nagar HaveliINR 800
Uttar PradeshINR 100Daman & DiuINR 800
AssamINR 200LakshadweepINR 800
GujaratINR 200Tamil NaduINR 800
Jammu & KashmirINR 200ChandigarhINR 1000
KeralaINR 250DelhiINR 1000
PunjabINR 250Himachal PradeshINR 1000
West BengalINR 250TelanganaINR 1000
RajasthanINR 300HaryanaINR 1200
TripuraINR 300PuducherryINR 1800
KarnatakaINR 300GoaINR 1800
BiharINR 400

Disbursement of Benefits

The following are the guidelines for the disbursement and the mode of payments.

  • Pensions may be disbursed at the convenience and the choice of the beneficiary.
  • Physical disbursement mechanisms such as door-step services, postal money orders, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) such as a bank account, post office account and so on, are made to offer pensions to the older beneficiaries on the basis of their social, economic and physical vulnerability. The programme works in a way that the beneficiaries are not required to travel more than 3 KMS to access their pension account.

The following are the guidelines for cash disbursement.

  • In the case of cash disbursements, it must be disbursed to the beneficiary in a Gram Sabha or the Area Sabha.
  • Payments are required to be made on a specific day of the month regularly.
  • Door-step delivery of pensions to beneficiaries are to be ensured within 7 days and the beneficiaries list to be displayed to the general public in the local language.
  • Receipt of payment to the beneficiary must be recorded and must be maintained on the record at the Gram Panchayat or Municipality.
  • In the NSAP, both for the sanction and the disbursement of pensions to beneficiaries with the use of IT is essential for efficient service delivery.

Coverage and Beneficiaries

The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) aims to cover every eligible individual on the basis of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population of every State. To have an estimate of the number of beneficiaries under each scheme of the programme for each State or Union Territory, the population figures according to the Census of India of the immediately previous year and the poverty ratio determined by the Planning Commission would be taken into consideration. The number of beneficiaries for each year would be calculated and determined on the basis of the reports of the year prior to the present year submitted by all the State Governments.

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