New Delhi [India], Oct 10 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to have a proper machinery to implement the pension scheme under the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) so that it could be known whether the authorities were doing their job properly.
The apex court while raising its concern about the three issues, mainly, pension to the elderly, old-age homes in all districts, and healthcare to these citizens, asked the Centre to file an affidavit in the matter within three weeks.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Union Minister and advocate Ashwani Kumar, a bench comprised Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked the Centre to inform it about the implementation of the scheme which was intended to help 12 crores senior citizens.
"Your policy must be saying that these are the persons who are responsible for the scheme's implementation. See, who is doing their job and who is not. There are so many things to be done. It's a huge task," the apex court said.
"Question is there is a scheme, you (Centre) have a monitoring body like you have child commission, food commission. Who is the body here who has to make sure the scheme is implemented?," the court questioned Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, who appeared for the Centre.
The bench further said that there appear to be a "huge gaps" in the implementation of NSAP which provides pension to elderly people, widows, people with disabilities, adding its endeavour was to "find out where is the huge gap."
Kumar also pointed out there has been no revision in the amount of pension since its inception, which is a meager pension of Rs 200 per month to the elderly, and urged the court to increase it to at least 50 per cent of the prevailing minimum wages.
The NSAP consists of Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme (IGOAPS), India Gandhi National Widow Scheme (IGNWS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna, with aims to ensure minimum national standard for social assistance to elderly in addition to the benefits the states are currently providing or might provide in future. (ANI)