Kohima: At least 57,400 people are availing the benefits of senior citizens’ pension scheme in Nagaland, an official of the social welfare department said on Saturday.

The estimated population of senior citizens in the state is more than 2 lakh but only 57,400 people, 51,750 in the age group 60-79 and 5,650 above 80 years, are availing the benefit of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) of the Central government, assistant director of social welfare department K Wango Langsym said.

He was speaking during a one-day seminar organised by Nagaland Senior Citizens Helpline at LCS Building here on Saturday.

Langsym said of the various old age pension schemes, the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) is funded by the Union Ministry of Rural Development which is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare, Nagaland.

In this, he said the beneficiary should be from Below Poverty Line (BPL) family while those in 60-79 age group will receive Rs 200 per month while those in 80 and above age group gets Rs 500 per month.

He said that the social welfare department wants to increase the number of beneficiaries as the current beneficiaries are less compared to the population of senior citizens, which would be more than 2 lakh in Nagaland.

He said the challenges and difficulties faced is that very few beneficiaries have Aadhaar linked bank accounts, which is a prime demand of the ministry for Direct Transfer Benefit.

“We cannot move on to the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) mode of payment despite repeated directives from the Ministry,” he said.

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Nonetheless, Langsym informed that the state government has approached the Union Ministry to enhance the number of beneficiaries for Nagaland.

The Department is also encouraging the village councils in the state to support the beneficiaries in linking their Aadhaar card with bank accounts, he said.

The officer said that the department would soon be conducting meticulous physical verification of the existing beneficiaries in order to weed out the names of those who have died.

Langsym also said that BPL senior citizens are also entitled to get 10 kg of food grain per month under the Annapurna Scheme through the food and civil supplies department.

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