19 Feb :The government has doubled the old-age pension for people below poverty line and expanded with immediate effect the ambit of the pension scheme by including widows in the age group 40-64 and persons with multiple disabilities aged 18-64.
The expansion of the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pensions Scheme (IGNOAPS), which was cleared by the Union Cabinet recently, would now include two crore widows and handicapped who are living below the poverty line (BPL), Minister for Rural Development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
This is for the second time that the scope of the scheme has been increased. Initially, IGNOAPS covered only a fixed quota of destitutes aged 65 years or above.
"We changed the scheme and universalised it by including all old people under BPL aged 65 years or above. Also, earlier the pension amount was Rs 100, which we have increased to Rs 200 per month," Singh said.
BPL persons with more than 40 per cent severe or multiple disabilities and aged between 18-64 years or widows aged between 40-64 years and meeting other criteria prescribed by the government would be eligible for benefits under the scheme.