New Delhi, Oct 9 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that pension schemes under the National Social Assistance Programme suffered from “huge” implementation gaps, observing that the benecifiaries who were assured of a monthly sum of Rs 200 were not getting it.
The bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that it (NSAP) appeared to be a “good scheme” backed with “good intention” but “nothing is delivering”.
NSAP came into existence in 1995, and consists of schemes that deliver pension to the elderly, widows, and the physically challenged.
The apex court said that there was a lack of administrative structure for the implementation of old-age pension scheme meant to help nearly 12 crore people. Justice Lokur said that the focus has to be on “budgeting (adequacy of it), disbursement and utilisation.”
The court ordered that “your (Centre’s) policy must say that this and this man will be looking after its implementation.”
The petitioner, advocate and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar, drew the court’s attention to the paltry sum of Rs 200 given under the scheme. He said that the coverage of people under the scheme as well as the amount was very low.
Kumar, who was the Union Law Minister in the Congress-led UPA government, told the court that there has been no revision in the amount of pension since its inception. He urged the bench to fix the pension amount at 50% of the prevailing minimum wages.