Over its 15-year term, the BJD Government led by Naveen Patnaik has successfully launched close to 60 schemes, among which Madhu Babu Pension Yojana has been in the talk especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the country’s economy.
The Government of Odisha has never failed to amuse the country with the kind of effective schemes it comes up with. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana is one such scheme that was first launched back in January 2008 for the help and aid to the destitute. It has been successfully put into operation with almost 48 Lakh beneficiaries. This scheme has been further highlighted because of the kind of amount the beneficiaries received amidst this lockdown which has been a piece of commendable news for the stakeholders of this scheme. This article will look at understanding what and who this scheme caters to, and will also look at the changes made to the usual rules because of the coronavirus pandemic that the country continues to battle.
What is Madhu Babu Pension Yojana?
The Madhu Babu Pension Scheme is predominantly a pension scheme launched by the Odisha Government providing pensions to many residents of Odisha in collaboration with the Department of Social Security and Empowerment. This pension scheme has been launched combining the revised Old Age Pension Rules 1989 and Disability Pension Rules 1985.
The Naveen Patnaik government, in its intent to reach out to the disabled, the old and the destitute has an aim to make the scheme more accessible, reaching the count of the beneficiaries to a complete 100 percent.
Eligibility Criteria for Madhu Babu Pension Yojana:
To avail the benefits of the scheme, one needs to fulfil a certain eligibility criterion.
- Widows of any age
- Only permanent residents of Odisha
- Any person suffering from leprosy showing signs of deformity
- Any person who is receiving any kind of assistance from the Central and State Government is not eligible to apply.
- For obtaining pension in any category, the family income of the applicant should not exceed Rs. 24000/-.
- Applicants with a disability such as blind, orthopedically handicapped, mentally handicapped, or cerebral palsy at least 5 years of age.
In addition to the above, there are certain documents required to be produced to avail of the benefit under the scheme.
- Aadhaar Card
- Voter ID Card
- Caste certificate
- APL or BPL Ration Card
- Residential certificate
- Family income certificate
- Widow certificate (Accordingly)
- Disability certificate
- Old age certificate
Once you have passed the eligibility criteria and provided the required documents, the application for this scheme can be submitted either offline by going to the nearest Block Office or Municipality, or online by visiting the page ssepd.gov.in/ and click on the link of “Apply for Schemes”.
Currently, under the scheme, the elderly persons aged over 60 years receive an old-age pension of Rs 500 per month, and those who are more than 80 years old, the pension is Rs 700 per month.
How is the Odisha Government benefiting the elderly and the destitute given the current times?
The pandemic has hit India in ways we cannot fathom. The brunt of this deadly virus is faced by the old and those who are not covered under the umbrella of privilege. The Odisha Government addressed this issue in a manner that is only setting examples for the other states. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana under the National Social Assistance Programme in the state will pay the beneficiaries an advance amount. This allowance would be paid for four months namely – April, May, June, and July due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Social security and financial aid is what the subjugated communities need right now. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana covers lakhs of people under its ambit, and is extending benefits to the elderly and the disabled during these vexing times. The method taken by the Odisha Government by reaching out to the grassroots level is commendable and speaks highly of the state’s willingness to create a socially stable society.
The Odisha government also came up with a Social Registry to help identify the beneficiaries adequately This will enhance an effective reach to the people. The identification under this social registry will help the state cut out unnecessary expenditures due to ghost accounts and ineligible beneficiaries. This step was taken because of the discovery of over hundreds of fake beneficiaries who were withdrawing pensions in disguise from the local block offices.
Aadhaar made mandatory
However, in March 2020, the pension payments became more hectic because of the mandate for beneficiaries to link their Aadhaar Number with their social welfare scheme accounts. The beneficiaries must carry their Aadhaar copies to avail of the benefits under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana. In 2017, the Chief Minister addressed the issue of compulsory linking of Aadhaar to the Prime Minister. In a letter to PM Modi in December 2017, Naveen Patnaik raised the issue that the imposition of bank payments on the beneficiaries would cause them hardships and shall defy the entire objective of providing hassle-free pension to the elderly and the differently-abled.
Nevertheless, from April 2020 onwards the pension under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana will not be disbursed to those who fail to submit their Aadhaar details to the government. The State Government has also clarified that there is no need to panic since this is an attempt by the government to complete 100 percent Aadhar linking. The pension account must be linked with Aadhar to continue the benefits.
The forced digitalization on the people is a bad idea, because more than 4000 panchayats are un-banked. Consequently, a lot of beneficiaries opt for cash payment. Given that the handing of bank passbooks and Aadhaar details are now required, it will become a problem to collect pension under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana in the future.
Madhu Babu Pension Yojana has worked well with the masses
Despite various issues throughout the state, Odisha has been magnificently able to combat social and financial difference by helping the destitute in a time of need. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana has touched every category of people including the elderly, the differently abled, and widows, hardly leaving anyone behind.
In a nutshell, amidst the times of health crisis due to the current pandemic, the worst affected are the elderly and the PWDs. The challenges they face not only include physical and mental health, but also financial instability. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana is one important step towards keeping this vulnerable group financially stable. It is the need of the hour for the government to work at all levels towards the inclusion of the disadvantaged group into schemes and programs. The importance is indeed evident, and Odisha is setting examples for the country. If determined action is taken, the country can certainly contain this human crisis together.