Nepal | August 11, 2020

Social security allowance won’t be discontinued: Minister Gurung

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 22

In the face of heavy criticism from all quarters over the government’s recent decision to discontinue social security allowance to differently-abled persons holding blue card and single women below 60 years of age, Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Parbat Gurung said there was no plan to strip the needy of the facilities they were enjoying.

Minister Gurung took to his Twitter handle to say that the government was working on increasing social security allowance being enjoyed by the beneficiaries. “Social security allowance of single women and blue card holder differently-abled persons will not be scrapped,” he wrote on  Twitter.

The Department of National ID and Civil Registration, under the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a circular to all local levels on April 8, directing them to abide by the provisions stated in the existing Social Security Act and rules and stop distributing social security allowance to single women below 60 years of age and blue card holder differently-abled persons, with effect from final four-monthly tranche of the current fiscal.

The government has mandated the local levels to distribute social security allowance to the listed beneficiaries through banking channel on a four-monthly basis. Blue card is issued to persons with severe disability under ‘B’ category as per the Procedure for Distribution of Identification Card to Persons With Disabilities. Severe disability is the condition of having to continuously take other people’s assistance to carry out daily activities and participate in social activities.

Blue card holder differently-abled persons and single women have been receiving a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,600 respectively. Issuing a press release, National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal said the move to scrap the allowance to blue card holders had cast doubt about the state’s accountability to the differently-abled persons. It urged the government to continue with the allowance being enjoyed by beneficiaries since 1994.

“The government decision is against the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Act Relating to Rights of Persons with Disabilities-2017. Therefore, we urge the government to withdraw the decision to discontinue the distribution of social security allowance,” read the release issued by NFDN yesterday.

Nepali Congress said its serious attention had been drawn to the government decision. “At a time when the entire population has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to discontinue the social security allowance is an inhuman act. Therefore, Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party strongly condemns this act and demands the government to withdraw the decision immediately,” said a press release issued by NC Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand. Nepal Women Association has warned that it will take a stern step if the government doesn’t withdraw the decision at the earliest.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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