Rural development secretary has written to chief secretaries of all states to disburse the ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 within two days to the elderly, widows and persons with disability to provide them monetary relief and liquidity during the period of social and economic crisis following the outbreak of COVID-19.

The ministry, in a letter dated April 6, said it has released the first installment of Rs 500 per beneficiary to all 36 states and union territories, urging them to ensure speedy disbursal of the same through direct benefit transfer.

Government, under the Rs 1.7 lakh crore Garib Kalyan Yojana Package, will provide one time ex-gratia amount of Rs 1,000 to old age, widow and divyang pensioners under the three pension schemes of the National Social Assistance Programme in two equal instalments of Rs 500 each.

“The second instalment under the said package will be released in the second week of May,” rural development secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter.

This amount of ex-gratia is in addition to the normal amount of central assistance under NSAP which would be provided to the states/UTs in two instalments, one in the last week of April 2020 and the other in last week of November 2020 for disbursement of monthly pension to all eligible beneficiaries under NSAP.

The NSAP, which is 100% centrally funded scheme, comprises of four pension and disability scheme for the elderly. These include the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) under which BPL persons aged 60 years or above are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 200 up to 79 years of age and Rs 500 thereafter.

Under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), BPL widows aged 40-59 years are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 200 while under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) BPL persons aged 18-59 years with severe and multiple disabilities are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 200 while the National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) entitle a BPL household to Rs 10,000 on the death of primary breadwinner aged between 18 and 64 years.

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