The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) which came into effect from 15th August, 1995 represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the Directive Principles in Article 41 and 42 of the Constitution. The programme introduced a National Policy for Social Assistance for the poor and aims at ensuring minimum national standard for social assistance in addition to the benefits that states are currently providing or might provide in future. NSAP at present, comprises of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna.
Directive Principles in Article 41 and 42 of the Indian Constitution
Article 41 - Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases
The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.
Article 42 - Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief
The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
Objectives of NSAP
- The NSAP is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Programme, that aims at ensuring minimum national standard of social assistance, in addition to the benefit that the States/UT’s are currently providing or might provide in future.
- The intention in providing 100 percent Central Assistance is to ensure that social protection to the beneficiaries everywhere in the country is uniformly available without interruption.
- Central Assistance does not displace States' own expenditure on social security Schemes and that the States/UTs may expand their own coverage of social assistance independently wherever they like to do so.
- The NSAP provides opportunities for linking social assistance packages to the Schemes for poverty alleviation and provision of basic needs. For example Maternity assistance can be linked to maternal and child care Programmes.
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS)
The National Old Age Pension Scheme has been renamed as Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOPS) and formally launched on 19th November, 2007.
Under this Scheme, central assistance is available as per the following criteria
- Age of the applicant (male or female) is 60 years or more.
- The applicant is a 'destitute' in the sense of having little or no regular means of subsistence from his/her own sources of income or through financial support from family members or other sources.
- Pension under IGNOAPS is now granted to a person who is 60 years or above and belongs to a household below the poverty line instead of only to destitute.
- The central contribution of pension under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) is Rs. 200/- per month per beneficiary up to 79 years and Rs.500/- per month per beneficiary from 80 year onwards and the State Governments may contribute over and above to this amount. At present old age beneficiaries are getting anywhere between Rs. 200/- to Rs. 1000/- depending on the State Contribution.
- The pension is not restricted to only one person in a family. All the persons who are 60 years of age in a BPL family are eligible to get old age pension.
National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
Under this scheme a lumpsump amount is provided as Family benefit, to the households below the poverty line, on the death of the primary breadwinner in the bereaved family.
Central Assistance is available under this Scheme as per the following criteria
- The 'primary breadwinner' should be the member of the household, male or female whose earnings contribute substantially to the total household income.
- The death of such a primary breadwinner occurs while he or she is more than 18 years and less than 65 years of age.
- The bereaved household qualifies as one below the poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Government of India.
- The amount of central assistance under the above scheme is Rs. 10000/- in case of death of primary breadwinner due to natural or accidental causes. The family benefit is paid to such surviving member of the household of the deceased who, after local enquiry is determined to be the head of the household.
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) – a Conditional Maternity Benefit Scheme
This scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) for pregnant and lactating mothers is called Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) – a Conditional Maternity Benefit Scheme. It is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme, conditional cash transfer scheme introduced in 2010-11 on pilot basis in 53 districts across the country. The scheme has been extended to all districts of the country w.e.f. 01.01.2017.
Objectives of IGMSY
To improve the health and nutrition status of Pregnant and Lactating (P & L) women and their young infants by:
- To provide partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
- The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) to reduce the effects of under-nutrition namely stunting, wasting and other related problems.
- Promoting appropriate practices, care and service utilization during pregnancy, safe delivery and lactation.
- Encouraging women to follow (optimal) Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices including early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
Under this Scheme, benefit is provided in the form of cash assistance to pregnant and lactating women as per the following conditions
- The benefit is restricted to pregnant women for the birth of the first live child provided they are of 19 years of age and above.
- The woman or her husband does not work in Government / Public Sector Undertaking (Central and State)
- Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are eligible will receive a cash benefit of Rs.5,000/- in three installment at the following stages as specified in the table given below:
||Early Registration of Pregnancy.
||Received at least one antenatal Check-up (after 6 months of pregnancy)
- Child birth is registered.
- Child has received first cycle of BCG, OPV, DPT and Hepatitis-B or its equivalent/substitute.
- The eligible beneficiaries would continue to receive the remaining cash incentive as per approved norms towards Maternity Benefit under existing programmes after institutional delivery so that on an average, a woman will get Rs 6000/-.
Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
The Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) was formally launched in February 2009.
- The applicant must be a widow in the age group of 40-59 years.
- The applicant should belong to a household living below the poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Govt. of India
The pension amount under Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme includes both the central and state contribution. The central contribution of pension under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) is Rs. 200/- per month per beneficiary and the State Governments may contribute at least an equal amount so that a beneficiary gets at least Rs.400/- per month.
Source: The National Social Assistance Programme website
- Ministry of Rural Development
- Website of Ministry of Women and Child Development