Odisha in a fix over finding beneficiaries for disability pension scheme

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is in a fix to find the eligible beneficiaries as per the criteria laid out by the central government for the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS).

Out of the number of divyang’s identified by the Odisha government, many do not match the eligibility criteria set for IGNDPS for which concerns are being raised over targets not being met and reduction of targets by the Centre.

The discrepancy in the central guidelines and the yardstick used by the State government to identify divyangs has arisen on account of the criteria of 80% or more disability for eligibility for IGNDPS.

However, the State government is not being able to find the required number of divyangs with 80% disability or more.

The Odisha government has identified a total of 90,754 beneficiaries for the disability pension schemes. Data from Balasore district reveals that while the State government has identified 4710 divyangs, the district administration has only identified 4,065 eligible divyangs.

“It is very difficult to find an 80% orthopedic handicap. If the scheme should be graded then different grading should be done keeping in mind the various levels of disability. This would benefit a lot of divyangs,” said divyang, Dinabandhu Sahu.

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“4,065 divyangs are getting benefits under the diabled pension schemes. There is a shortfall of 645 as per the assigned target to district as there is a stipulation that the eligible person should be BPL with 80% and above deformity,” said Balasore collector, Pramod Das.

This shortfall has raised concerns that the Centre might reduce the target for Odisha.

‘If the situation continues, Government of India will reduce our target,” noted Secretary of the Odisha Women and Child Development Department, Saswat Mishra in a letter to all district collectors.

Amid such strict guidelines, the divyang community has demanded relaxation in the criteria by the Central government.

“We urge the government to relax the criteria from 80% disability to around 60%,” said divyang, Dev Narayan Das.