Beneficiary Satisfaction Regarding Old Age Pension Scheme and Its Utilization Pattern in Urban Puducherry: A Mixed Methods Study LC01-LC05
Dr. Subitha Lakshminarayanan,
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry – 605006, India.
Introduction: National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) was aimed at providing a safety net for India’s aging population in terms of social, economical and moral support by helping eligible elderly citizens with direct cash benefit.
Aim: To assess the beneficiary satisfaction and utilization pattern of the monetary benefit received under the old age pension scheme and to explore the perception of the stakeholders regarding delivery of the pension.
Materials and Methods: This is a mixed method research consisting of both quantitative surveys and qualitative in-depth interviews. The survey was conducted among 205 randomly selected beneficiaries of old age pension scheme belonging to urban Puducherry. Around 12 qualitative interviews were conducted with beneficiaries, family members and Anganwadi workers.
Results: The mean age of the study participants was 71 years. Almost 80% of participants avail pension from banks. Majority of participants (98%) were satisfied with the overall scheme, though half of them expressed their dissatisfaction with the amount of pension received. Among the study subjects, 65% were satisfied regarding the mechanism of delivery of old age pension. Anganwadi was the preferred mode of payment in 80% subjects. Around 85% of them spent the entire pension amount for their own use (health needs, travel, daily activities and social needs) while the remaining gave some economic support to their family. Half of them (55%) felt that they possess financial autonomy in planning their expenditure. Majority felt that receiving pension had given them economic empowerment, self-esteem and renewed confidence in life.
Conclusion: Financial assistance to the elderly empowers them and improves their social status, independence, self-esteem and overall quality of life. With increasing proportion of elderly in Indian population, it is important to study the effectiveness of such schemes so that corrective measures can be taken to facilitate its access to the disadvantaged section of the society.