Evaluation of OAP in Karnataka - Final Report - Phase 100010 by keralaguest

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									                       Evaluation of Old Age Pension schemes in Karnataka –Final Report


duplicate beneficiaries. A useful qualitative observation of the study was that, in
many cases the criteria of selection of beneficiaries were largely followed although,
the selection criteria themselves were unnecessarily stringent and instrumental in
excluding the beneficiaries. The authors quote that experiences in other states were
similar, based on studies in other states including that in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh
and Himachal Pradesh.


Rajashekar D et al.2009 undertook a baseline survey on the delivery mechanisms in
three districts of Karnataka namely Bellary, Chitradurga and Gulbarga. This was
also a precursor to try out a different delivery mechanism (through smart cards) for
delivering pension amounts to the beneficiaries. According to this report, the major
financial hurdle in the delivery mechanism of pensions is the additional cost of Rs 40
crores incurred since most of the pensions are sent through Money Order (MOs) to
the beneficiaries.


The authors explain in detail the logistics at the field level for the implementation of
the scheme, ranging from how the application for pension is applied and verified to
how the money is delivered through the post office or through banks. Further, the
problem of fund disbursal from the district level to the beneficiaries due to shortage
of human resources and infrastructure is highlighted. The authors comment that
selection of beneficiaries in these districts is correct in principle, although many
beneficiaries would become ineligible if the eligibility criterion for the schemes is
strictly followed. A specific example is that of household income. Household income
although higher than the selection criterion cannot be looked in isolation since
overall indebtedness, necessary expenditures on health, education and other issues
play a significant role in deciding the economic well-being of a household


This detailed study in many ways complements the opinions and findings of other
studies reviewed here. The findings include the fact that although leakage exists, it
exists in small amounts, the beneficiary selection is largely based on actual need
although, not strictly adhering to the selection criterion of the scheme and although
not on schedule, the pension remittance to the beneficiary is still dependable. The
study finds that there is upward mobility for the beneficiaries of the different welfare
schemes and satisfaction levels among the beneficiaries are high. Further, as policy
advocacy, the study suggests a single mode of pension disbursal (through banks),
computerization and better record keeping at the Sub-Treasury Office level for
expedited pension delivery.



GRAAM – An SVYM Initiative                                                                 16
                        Evaluation of Old Age Pension schemes in Karnataka –Final Report




The web-magazine article Supriya Khandekar, 2011, captures the various
problematic issues in implementing the scheme. The authors capture various
experiences of beneficiaries and highlight issues like urban poor and elderly being
left out of the scheme, delays in monthly payment and the insufficiency of the
pension amount. While the article is largely based on individual case studies, it is
successful in bringing major issues related to amount of pension to the individual
beneficiary, the lack of true penetration of the scheme in urban areas and in general,
the lack of accountability in the disbursement procedure. However, the article does
not offer conclusive recommendations for these transactional challenges of the
scheme.


HelpAge International, 2008 is a participatory study by an NGO (Helpage
International) to see the impact of pension on poverty reduction and the role that can
be played by local monitoring groups. The study is participatory and qualitative in
approach and uses narratives to capture beneficiary and stakeholder groups’ views
on the use of the pension scheme. The important conclusions from the study are: a)
although the amount is small, it helps older persons living alone with a sense of
dignity and confidence and for persons who live with families, helps them to
improve their quality of life. However the study suggests that monitoring groups are
necessary not only in helping the elderly with the application process, but also help
in creating awareness about the scheme, advocating elderly persons’ rights and
entitlements and in supporting the administration when logistic help is needed.

   4.1 Summary of literature review
Based on these and other related literature survey including the National Policy on
Older Persons (1999) and the draft National Policy for Senior Citizens (2011), the
following issues can be summarized.
      The changing demographic situation of the country means that in the years to
       come, ensuring safety nets to elderly citizens will be a challenge. Further,
       catering to the health needs of the elderly citizens will be a major issue. Hence, a
       systematic policy to create socio-economic and health related safety nets need
       to be evolved.
      In the changing demographic scenario, 3 important issues emerge: a) most
       elderly in India will continue to be substantially dependent on others for economic
       as well as social needs b) the female elderly population is much more vulnerable
       and susceptible, and hence, direct financial assistance to this group is crucial and



GRAAM – An SVYM Initiative                                                                    17
                          Evaluation of Old Age Pension schemes in Karnataka –Final Report


       c) the rural – urban divide and regional variations in demographic profiles
       will create additional dependency issues, with some regions (like North
       Indian state) requiring much more budgetary allocation for social assistance.
       Hence, in the case of Karnataka too, it would be plausible to look for inter-
       regional variation in degrees of dependency as well as prepare for higher budgetary
       allocations for social assistance.
      Looking at the demographic projections, the evolution of direct financial
       assistance in the form of pensions to senior citizens and the recent trends in
       increased coverage (both at the national level and the state level) are in the
       right direction.
      Innovative ways of increasing the coverage of pension schemes need to explored. As
       noted in (Kumar & Anand 2006), political motivations at the grassroots level,
       voluntary monitoring groups (HelpAge International), technological interventions
       like smartcards (Rajashekar D et al.) and other culture-specific interventions
       (Steering Committee 2001) can help increase the reach, efficiency and
       usefulness of the scheme.
      Initial transactional costs (application process, validation of applications) and
       enrolment in the scheme are the major bottle-necks in the implementation of
       the scheme.
      There are large inter-district variations in performance when it comes to
       operationalising pension schemes (Datta 2008).
      In terms of comparative efficiency, OAP schemes in general have much better
       performance indicators (Nayak, Saxena, and Farrington; Rajashekar D et al.;
       Srivastava) than other poverty targeting programmes.
      Record keeping, single window disbursal mechanism, monitoring and
       tracking are the crucial operational factors that guarantee the effectiveness
       and efficiency of the scheme.
      Although major incidences of duplication and fake beneficiaries are low, it is
       important to recognize that the different parameters of eligibility to be
       verified for enrolment of pensioners cannot be looked in isolation(Rajashekar
       D et al.; Datta; Srivastava; HelpAge International). Hence, literature suggests
       that although the beneficiaries covered under the scheme are genuinely
       disadvantaged, they may not be strictly eligible if scheme guidelines are
       adhered to in its strict sense. Hence, a lot of issues in the secondary analysis of
       beneficiary data may not give the true picture of the situation.


In summary, while pension schemes have a huge opportunity to impact the lives of



GRAAM – An SVYM Initiative                                                                   18

								
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