Cabinet hikes widows’ pension

Besides increasing pension rate that senior citizens can avail under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, the government on Thursday widened its ambit by revising eligibility criteria to include everyone aged between 40 and 79.

The CCEA also decided to increase the lump sum grant under National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 and also to revise the eligibility criterion from 18-64 years to 18-59 years. In view of the above decision, 76 lakh BPL widows and 11 lakh BPL persons with severe or multiple disability under the ongoing Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme would get enhanced amount of central assistance of Rs 300 per month.

"This would be in addition to the contribution by the states. Further, 3.56 lakh BPL families will receive one-time lump sum enhanced grant of Rs 20,000 in the event of death of the primary breadwinner in the family," an official release said. The cost means an additional expenditure of Rs 1325.10 crore per annum, after taking into account the existing rate of assistance and number of beneficiaries.

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