Bhubaneswar: The state government has decided to continue with the disbursement of pensions in cash to the elderly and differently-abled instead of direct benefit transfer (DBT) system enunciated by the Centre.
The Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department, the nodal agency in the state to deal with the issue of disability pensions and pensions for the senior citizens, has decided to continue pension disbursements through panchayat offices.
“We have decided to continue with the practice of payment of pensions in cash mode through the panchayat offices. In many cases such pensions are also delivered at the residences of the elderly and differently-abled due to their difficulty to reach out to the local offices,” SSEPD secretary Bhaskar Sharma told Orissa POST.
Sharma said that the beneficiaries under the pension schemes in the state are either getting the pension assistance from the Union government’s National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) or from the state’s Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY). The secretary also said the state government is contributing its own share to the central pension schemes to give uniform pensions to the elderly and the differently-abled.
Currently, the beneficiaries under the scheme are being provided `500 from the state government either through the state scheme or the central scheme.
The Ministry of Rural Development had earlier written to the state government to ensure that all the pensions are credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through DBT. However, the state government countered the argument of the ministry citing lack of financial inclusion, remote and hilly areas where it would be a financial burden on the beneficiaries to reach the banks in urban and semi urban areas to receive `500 as pension.