Social Assistance Program for the Elderly
For the elderly destitutes, the Central and many State Governments have designed several social assistance programs. Under the national old age pension scheme, the Union Government assists the State Governments to pay old age pension at the rate of Rs.75 per month to individuals aged 65 years or above. All the states and the union territories have designed their own pension schemes for some 5.3 million beneficiaries. Many states like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have designed their own pension plans for agricultural workers.
Due to limited funds, only a marginal fraction of the elderly persons receive the benefits. Even the basic needs cannot be met with an amount of Rs.75 per month. As the benefits are rationed, a substantial gap exists between the needs and the availability of the pension. This has given rise to a high degree of corruption and nepotism in the selection of beneficiaries and disbursement of pensions.