The Odisha government has announced four months of advance pension for beneficiaries under Madhu Babu Pension Yojna (MBPY), a flagship scheme of the state.
This comes days after the state government withdrew an order making Aadhaar mandatory for availing of the monthly social security pension from August.
“We had rolled out an advance for April, May, June and July. In August, all the beneficiaries were given ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 keeping the pandemic in mind, apart from the sum under the pension scheme, which ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 under various categories. Again, for the benefit of pensioners in such times of distress, we have rolled out an advance for the next four months — September, October, November and December,” said Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister for Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
“Not a single eligible person will be deprived of the benefits, even if they do not have an Aadhaar card. The block-level officers of respective districts have been informed that information from the beneficiaries should be collected on the spot to facilitate the process of Aadhaar card enrolment/update for them,” Panda added.
Officers have been directed to provide applications for Aadhaar enrolment for beneficiaries and collect necessary documents for the procedure.
The state has 48 lakh beneficiaries under social security pension schemes of the state and Centre. Of these, 28 lakh are beneficiaries under MBPY and 20 lakh are beneficiaries under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).
According to the NSAP website, nearly 80% of the beneficiaries were not verified with Aadhaar while under MBPY, nearly 70% beneficiaries were not verified with Aadhaar.
Earlier, Aadhaar seeding was made mandatory for the beneficiaries with the intention to weed out ghost beneficiaries. But this had left around 20% of the 48 lakh beneficiaries in a lurch. The decision had also attracted criticism from food rights activists in the state, following which the state had withdrawn its order.