Aadhaar not mandatory for pensions in Delhi

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New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) The Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday ruled that Aadhaar card will not be required to access the benefits of widow, old age and disability pensions.

“Many people face problems due to the inability of banks to link Aadhaar with their bank account. The Cabinet has decided to delink Aadhaar from the widow and age-old pension,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who chaired the cabinet meeting.

There have been reports of hardship being faced by people due to Aadhaar authentication. According to government data, 33,191 old age pension beneficiaries and 9,799 disability pension beneficiaries were not able to take the enhanced pensions because of systemic issues of the banks and/or the department.

“Now beneficiaries would not be penalised for system-related reasons. They will get the enhanced pension as well as pension at old rates, stopped due to lack of Aadhaar,” Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said.

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The enhanced pension will be remitted from April 2018 to all beneficiaries who are getting the pension on old rates.

The Supreme Court had also questioned the mandatory use of Aadhaar card for drawing pension earlier this year.

Delhi’s Department of Social Welfare has implemented a number of schemes of financial assistance, including old age pension and disability pension, where amounts were credited to bank accounts of the beneficiaries on a recurring basis.

Under the old age pension, started in 1975 for people having a family income of Rs 100,000 or less per annum, Rs 2,000 per month is given to people between 60 and 69 years and Rs 2,500 per month to people who are 70 years and above.

The department has remitted assistance to 4.18 lakh beneficiaries for April-May 2018.

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Under the disability pension, started in 2006, assistance is provided to all persons with the disability between 0-60 years and with a family income of Rs 100,000 or less per annum.

The department has remitted assistance of Rs 2,500 per month to 77,542 beneficiaries for April-May 2018.

The Delhi Cabinet in 2016 had made Aadhaar mandatory for availing financial assistance schemes for all the beneficiaries – new as well as existing.

This is not the first time the Delhi Cabinet has de-linked the Aadhaar for a scheme. In February, the Cabinet decided against making Aadhaar mandatory for the distribution of ration in the national capital.

–IANS

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