National Family Benefit Scheme : Analysis – UPSC GS2

National Family Benefit Scheme
  • Launched in 1995 under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).
  • Restricted to BPL families.
  • Rs. 20000 will be given as a lump sum assistance to the bereaved household in the event of the death of the bread-winner.
Problems associated with National Family Benefit Scheme:
  • Budget Allocation: Central expenditure on NFBS declined from Rs 862 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 623 in 2020-21 (budget estimates), with revised estimates for 2020-21 even lower — just Rs 481 crore. (#diagram Graph)
  • Government attention: The government is focussing more on promoting other contributory schemes like Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
  • Not implementing the committee suggestions: Mihir Shah panel suggested some changes to improve the lacunae associated with NFBS like higher coverage, extended eligibility of NFBS assistance, but all are simply ignored.
Way Forward:
  • Increase in the amount of emergency assistance: According to K P Kannan, the initial intention was to peg NFBS benefits at around 80% of India’s per-capita GDP. Based on this benchmark, the benefits should be raised to nearly Rs one lakh.
  • BPL households: BPL lists are outdated, unreliable, and full of exclusion errors in most states. So, there is a need to update that list and include all the eligible families.
  • Inclusive Approach: There is a need to bring simplification, transparency, and people-friendliness in the process. Proper assistance should be provided in accessing information, completing formalities, tracking their application, submitting complaints, and obtaining a response in the event of any grievance.
  • Increase in budget allocation: For making NFBS run smoothly, the government should increase money for investing in this project.

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