Plea For Cash Pension

The Prime Minister has been urged to impress upon the Union Government to release funds under National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) without imposing any conditions.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today brought it to the notice of the Prime Minister Mr. Modi, in the wake of a letter received by the State Government from the Ministry of Rural Development over  disbursement of pension, under the NSAP scheme, through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) platform.

"I firmly believe that disbursement of pension in cash in accordance with the convenience and choice of beneficiaries is in the best interest of the beneficiaries," Mr.Patnaik wrote to the Prime Minister.
 The Direct Benefit Transfer platform aims to ensure that benefits go to individuals' bank accounts electronically, minimizing tiers involved in fund flow and thereby reducing delay in payment.

The Ministry's letter, issued in mid-November, had said the sanction of second installment of NSAP is conditional and the State Government is required to chalk out action plan for switching over to the DBT platform.

It also said that the state should work with the banks to implement the RBI instructions on doorstep delivery of banking services to senior citizens and differently abled persons.

Mr.Patnaik, in his letter to the Prime Minister has  said the State had been disbursing pension in cash on every 15th day of a month at the Gram Panchayats and ULB (urban local body) headquarters in an open and transparent manner.

All beneficiaries assembled there are provided pension in cash in public view, he said.
This was being done in view of the difficulties people face due to poor banking facilities  in the state.

There are 4,378 gram panchayats in the state with no bank branches. In other panchayats, too, existing banks have only one staff handling transactions, which makes  it difficult for them to take the load of large number of pension beneficiaries, he said.

Mr.Patnaik has also pointed out that the Odisha model of pension disbursement has been a subject of scholarly research. Bank payment may cause undue hardship to the vulnerable beneficiaries.

"I am sanguine you would appreciate the special circumstances of the state and not impose conditions on release of funds," Mr.Patnaik urged the PM.

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