Social and Impact
Increasing the effectiveness of NSAP in India through impact investment
24 Aug 2021
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), launched on 15 August 1995 was aimed at providing benefits to poor income households having elderly members in the family or needing support after the death of a wage earner. NSAP was formulated to provide minimum social protections to the beneficiaries.
Under NSAP, five schemes were introduced:
  1. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
  2. Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
  3. Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
  4. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
  5. Annapurna
The NFBS scheme, which was an integral part of the NSAP Scheme, provides a lump sum family benefit of INR 20,000 to the grieving household in case of death of the primary breadwinner irrespective of the cause of death. This scheme applies to all eligible persons in the age group of 18-64 years. A brief overview of the scheme and its performance follows in the article.
What are the guidelines and goals of NFBS?
The major guidelines of NFBS:
  • The decedent person should be of Below Poverty Line (BPL) category
  • The decedent person should be the primary earning member in the family and aged between 18-64 years
  • There should not be any post-death assistance from any other insurance company
The goal of NFBS is to provide financial and social assistance to families living below poverty line, thereby ensuring minimum living standards for the eligible household.
NFBS is implemented by the States or UTs as per the general and specific conditions applicable. NFBS Schemes are implemented by Social Welfare departments and apply to rural as well as urban areas of the state.
What are the major features of NFBS?
  • Selection: The Gram Panchayat and Municipalities are expected to play an active role in the identification of the beneficiaries under the scheme
  • Disbursement: The financial benefits are credited to the bank account of the beneficiary
  • Monitoring: A Nodal Secretary is designated at the State level to monitor the progress of implementation through different departments
Quarterly reports show the progress stated below:
a) Highlights of major states where NFBS schemes have been implemented and benefits availed by the beneficiaries:
The above data shows that Odisha, West Bengal, and Gujarat are the major states which have shown progress in the implementation of the NFBS scheme with verified Aadhar and bank accounts. Maharashtra is one of the large States that are yet to implement the schemes at the required scale.
b) Other schemes under NFBS:
 Schemes  Conditions  Beneficiaries claim
 Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (2007) (IGNOAPS)
  •  The age of the applicant should be 60+ years old
  • The applicant should belong to a household living below poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Government of India
  •  INR 200 per month for people between 60-79 years of age
  • INR 500 per month for people 80+ years of age
  • Presently INR 200-1000 per month (depending on State contribution)
 Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (2009) (IGNWPS)
  • The applicant must be a widow in the age group of 40-59 years
  • The applicant should belong to a household living below poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Government of India
  • INR 200 per month – by Central Government
  • The state may contribute an equal amount
 Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (2009) (IGNDPS)
  • The applicant must be in the age group of 18-59 years
  • The applicant should be a person with severe or multiple disabilities
  • The applicant should belong to a household living below poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Government of India
  • INR 200 per month – by Central Government
  • The State may contribute an equal amount.
 Annapurna (2000)
  • Providing food security to meet the requirement of those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under the IGNOAPS
  • 10kgs of food grains per month are provided free of cost to the beneficiary
c) Total number of NSAP beneficiaries in past five years under various schemes
In the IGNOAP scheme under the NSAP, approximately 2.49 crore beneficiaries were assisted in FY21, followed by the IGNWP scheme with 0.76 crore beneficiaries.
In 2002-03, the responsibility of implementing the scheme was transferred to State Governments by the Central Government. While effective implementation of schemes is the Government’s responsibility various challenges emerged.
Some of the performance inhibitors for scheme implementation are:
  • Unclear process for tracking the beneficiaries and their claims
  • Rejection of applications without proper justification and time to respond back
  • Lack of monitoring through MIS (Management Information System) across the States
  • Lack of awareness and inadequate implementation on the ground
  • Coordination among Central and State Government agencies
  • Financial assistance planning
  • Difficulty in obtaining death certificates for the beneficiaries, specifically in the case of migrant laborers
  • Awareness measures taken for priority schemes like IGNOAPS and IGNWPS
How to improve NFBS Schemes?
  • Digitize the process flow for application and claims
  • Easier touchpoint access and application process for beneficiaries
  • Following a time-bound disbursement cycle
  • Process simplification to avoid procedural delays
  • Increasing use of MIS access across the States under NFBS
  • Steps to be taken by State, Central agencies for creating awareness among the citizens
  • A transparent and accessible economic model for the fund disbursals and financial aids
  • Analyze through impact assessment framework
An impact assessment framework would perhaps be a good idea to develop a structured methodology for assessing the performance of the various schemes. Analysis can be drawn by looking at the available data on the beneficiaries, processes, and method of payment and disbursal to the target beneficiaries. Digital transformation, change enablement frameworks and implementation through an impact-oriented approach can unlock the full potential of structured Governance. Social inclusion is a pertinent Governance mandate and one of the important Social Development Goals (SDG) criteria tracked, especially for the ones claiming the scheme benefits due to the pandemic. A simpler process to applying or claiming to such schemes can be looked at providing relief and instill resilience among the beneficiary lives. Schemes after being popularised must undergo a review process built on assessment frameworks to measure KRAs. The impact result is thus far-reaching for the beneficiaries who can find some resilience in improving their future and financial status in society.

Authored by:
Lokesh Bohra, Senior Vice President, Social and Impact Advisory

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