Other States

A million people in Odisha likely to miss social welfare benefits, says NGO

More than a million people are likely to lose their entitlements under social welfare schemes with the Odisha government insisting on production of Aadhaar card as identity proof, alleged Right To Food Campaign (RTFC), Odisha, in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

Social welfare schemes under one umbrella

According to the RTFC, the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) and the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) are social safety nets covering some of the most vulnerable citizens such as elderly, persons with disabilities, widows, and transgender persons.

“Beneficiaries receive a pension between ₹500 and ₹700 per month. Close to 49 lakh persons get benefits under the two schemes. In July 2020, in light of the pandemic, the State government announced a onetime payment of ₹1,000,” said Sameet Panda, a lead member of the RTFC.

Tenuous line of support

“However, mandatory Aadhaar linkage and verification threatens to cut even this tenuous line of support. In July and August, the two circulars clearly mentioned that pensions were to be disbursed only to those who carried Aadhaar cards and only to those accounts which had been Aadhaar verified,” said Mr. Panda.

NPR data useful for welfare schemes, says Union Home Ministry

The RTFC analysis says as per the updated national dashboard of the national social assistance programme, only 83% of the NSAP accounts in Odisha have been “verified” by Aadhaar, while only 74% have been verified for the MBPY scheme.

“This means that more than 11 lakh persons could lose their benefits because of lack of Aadhaar verification,” said Mr. Panda.

He said the RTFC condemned the decision of the government. “The exclusionary processes have no clear appeal method, and as a result, persons struck off these lists are left running from pillar to post. It is close to impossible for those who are not mobile, have limited access to transportation or live in an area far from the administrative headquarters,” said Mr. Panda.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 6:41:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/a-million-people-in-odisha-likely-to-miss-social-welfare-benefits-says-ngo/article32327929.ece

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