The National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP) or scheme came into effect on 15th August 1995. The main objective behind the scheme was to fulfil the spirit of Article 41 which comes under directive principle of state policy.
Article 41 Says:
“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.”
The programme formulated a National Policy for Social Assistance for the poor and aims at ensuring minimum national standard for social assistance. These new assistance are addition to the benefits that states are currently providing or might provide in future. NSAP scheme is 100% centrally sponsored scheme and administered by Ministry of Rural Development but beneficiaries can be from both, rural and urban areas. The scheme is implemented in the States/UTs through Panchayats and Municipalities. There are five components of the scheme:
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): This scheme is meant for the old age people who are above 60 years of age (revised later from 65 years) and who live below the poverty line. Through this scheme a monthly cash is provided to these old age people which is currently Rs. 200 per month for person aged in 60–79 range. For applicants aged above 80 years, the amount Rs. 500 a month, that is revised in 2011. State government can also add their part in it, which they usually do.
Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS): Introduced in February 2009.This scheme is meant for disable (physically/mentally) people who are living below poverty line. The person should be in the age of 18-59 range. The disability is defined by PWD Act. 1995, and person should be more than 40% disable. A cash pension of Rs. 300 per month is granted currently under this scheme. State government also contribute from their quota.
National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS): Under this scheme a cash assistance of 20,000 is provided to the below poverty line family which lost (death) its primary breadwinner. Primary breadwinner can be male or female depending on the contribution in the total income of family. Earlier it was 10,000 but from this budget year it has increased to 20,000. That member should be in the age group of 18-64.
Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS): Introduced in February 2009. This scheme is meant for the widows in age group of 40-59 and which are living below poverty line. In this scheme a cash assistance of Rs. 300 per month is granted currently from central fund, state also contribute.
Annapurna Scheme: This scheme was introduced on 1st April 2000. The scheme is meant for the people who are not covered under above four schemes yet they are eligible for that. Under this scheme 10 kg of food grains per month are provided free of cost to the beneficiaries.
They are eligible but not covered!!!!! : This is the biggest problem with all above schemes, because they are not demand driven schemes. Every scheme has a fixed annual target to achieve, they cannot provide more than that. And each scheme is meant only for the people who are below poverty line. Demand driven schemes are like MGNREGA, in which if a person wants employment than it is the duty of government to provide him employment (if not than give that person un-employment allowance). The current (2012-2013) budget allocation for these schemes is at Rs 8,447 crore, which was Rs 6,158 crore during last fiscal.