Widows, disabled brought under social security ambit

February 5th, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) Widows and the disabled living below the poverty line have been brought within the ambit of a social security scheme for senior citizens over the age of 65, it was announced here Thursday.”The cabinet today (Thursday) approved the expansion of the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) to include other vulnerable groups of the society,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.

He was briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating from coronary bypass surgery.

Widows in the 40-64 age-group and people with severe and multiple disabilities who are between and 18-64 years and live below the poverty line will be eligible for monthly pension of Rs.200 that senior citizens above 65 are already eligible for, the minister said.

“Once the beneficiaries in the two groups cross the age of 65, they will continue to be eligible for the pension for people living below the poverty line,” Chidambaram added.

“The states are encouraged to provide a matching amount (of Rs.200),” he said, adding 2.5 million and 1.5 million people with disabilities would benefit from the expanded scheme.

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