The Department of National ID and Civil Registration under the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to all level levels, requesting them to raise awareness about the provision of relinquishing the social security allowance by beneficiaries set forth in the Social Security Rules, 2020.

Rule 20 states that if any person getting any social security allowance does not wish to take it, such person may himself/herself or through his or her guardian, curator or caretaker submit an application in the format specified in Schedule-4 to the concerned ward office.

Where the application is received, the ward office shall remove the name of such person from the list of persons entitled to social security allowance upon identification and verification thereof. Rule 20 also says that the local level concerned shall award a certificate of honour to a Nepali citizen who voluntarily forgoes social security allowance voluntarily.

The letter recently sent to the local levels mentions that awareness-raising programme about the provision would encourage the listed beneficiaries and even the new beneficiaries to shun the allowance and contribute to needy persons. The existing law does not discriminate between rich and poor while providing social security allowance on the ground of their financial status.

Citizens ranging from indigents to billionaires have been enjoying the allowance. "If beneficiaries from well-to-do families wish to give up the allowance voluntarily, it will support the subsistence and consumption of financially weak beneficiaries through allocation of more budget for them," said the DoNIDCR in the letter. The DoNIDCR has also urged the local levels to collect details of beneficiaries, who are willing to relinquish the allowance. Senior citizens above 60 years (Dalit), single women, senior citizens above 70 years and senior citizens above 60 years of specified areas benefit with security allowance of Rs 2,690, Rs 2,690, Rs 4,000 and Rs 2,690 per month respectively. Differently-abled persons bearing red card and blue card get Rs 3,900 and Rs 2,690 accordingly.

Likewise, persons belonging to endangered ethnicities enjoy allowance of Rs 3,990.

Children from Karnali region, who are below five years and Dalits, get Rs 532 as nutrition allowance.

The allowance is distributed through the concerned local level on a four-monthly basis via banking channel on the basis of identity cards issued to the listed beneficiaries.

The existing law requires the local units to review, and update the records of identity cards on an annual basis. According to the DoNIDCR, there are a total of 3,465,427 listed beneficiaries as of the fiscal 2020-21. The government has allocated Rs 100 billion for this purpose.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.