An additional 72.32 lakh persons in the age group of 60-64 years and living below the poverty line will get pension benefits with the Government on Thursday lowering the age limit to 60.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also decided to increase the rate of pension to persons of 80 years and above from Rs 200 to Rs 500.
The revised norms would be applicable with effect from 1st April this year and total additional requirement will be Rs 2,770 crore for implementing the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme-- part of the National Social Assistance Programme of the Central government.
"It is estimated that lowering of the age limit would benefit about an additional 72.32 lakh persons in the age group of 60-64 years and living below the poverty line. It is estimated that 26.49 lakh persons above the age of 80 years and living below the poverty line, would become eligible to receive enhanced Central assistance at Rs. 500 per month," the Government said in a statement.
At present 169 lakh persons above the age of 65 years and living below poverty line are receiving Central assistance under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.
"The additional funds required will be Rs 1,736 crore for providing old age pension at Rs 200 per month per beneficiary in the age group of 60-64 years and Rs 953 crore for providing enhanced pension at Rs 500 per month per beneficiary of age 80 years and above," the Government said.
"Thus the total additional requirement will be Rs 2,770 crore including 3 per cent administrative expenses," it said.
As a result of change in the eligibility criteria for receiving old age pension, eligibility criteria for widow pension under IGNWPS and disability pension under IGNDPS will get revised from 40-64 years to 40-59 years and from 18-64 years to 18-59 years respectively, the statement said.
It has been a long-pending demand to lower the age of old age pension beneficiaries to 60.