The Delhi government on Tuesday approved a proposal of its Social Welfare Department to do away with the requirement of Aadhaar and linking bank accounts with the 12-digit biometric identity for availing of welfare schemes such as old-age and other pensions.
A Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the proposal delinking Aadhaar and social welfare benefits including old age, disability and widow pensions, a Delhi government statement said.
“Lot of people suffering due to inability of banks to link adhar wid bank account. Today , Cabinet decided to delink adhar from widow n age old pension(sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.
The Social Welfare department will now remit all the pensions stopped due to lack of Aadhaar, the government statement said.
“Increased pension will be remitted with effect from April 2018, to all beneficiaries who are getting pension on old rates so that beneficiaries are not penalised for system related reasons,” it said.
The Department is responsible implementing old age assistance, commonly known as old age pension for senior citizens in Delhi. This assistance is available to all senior citizens who are residents of Delhi for at least five years and having family income of Rs. 1,00,000/- or less per annum.
In 2016, the Cabinet had decided for not insisting upon Aadhaar for remittance of pension. But, it was mandated that the enhanced pension will be given only to Aadhaar seeded accounts. As a result, a total of 33,191 old age pension beneficiaries and 9,799 disability pension beneficiaries were unable to get increased pension.
Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and a circular of the UIDAI clearly say that no beneficiary should be denied benefit for the want of Aadhaar or failure of Aadhaar authentication and they should be offered alternative and viable mean of identification, the statement said.
The Social Welfare Department provides Rs 2,000 per month as old age pension to people aged 60-69 years, and Rs 2,500 to those 70 years or more, living in Delhi. The eligibility criteria is residence in Delhi for 5 years and Rs one 1 or less family income.
The department has remitted assistance to 4.18 lakh beneficiaries for April-2018, it said. Under the disability pension, Rs 2,500 per month are provided to eligible persons.