The research examines how the Old Age Allowance programme influences people’s views and attitudes of the state and contributes to state legitimacy in Nepal. It is based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 38 beneficiaries of the Old Age Allowance in Rolpa district. The research reveals that an individual can have multiple (positive and negative) perceptions of the state, which are associated with specific experiences and programme impacts. These perceptions relate to people’s assessment of how well the state fulfilled the main objectives it set out to achieve through the establishment of pensions. These objectives can be considered as the main premises of the social contract in Nepal and they include the government’s commitment to institutionalise social support for older persons, contribute to people’s well-being, and promote social inclusion. People’s perceptions are also linked with a range of other factors, including the effects of pensions on empowerment, family and community relations, the process of delivering benefits and people’s experience of receiving benefits.
The research offers valuable insight into the beneficiaries’ experiences, concerns and priorities and enables lessons to be drawn for improving the Old Age Allowance programme. Adjustments in programme design and implementation could help enhance the contribution of the allowance to people’s lives and livelihoods. This in turn can help foster positive perceptions of the state and contribute to state legitimacy. These policy measures include increasing the value of the benefit, equalising the eligibility threshold, improving the benefit delivery capacity of Village Development Committees, facilitating convenient and cost-free access to benefits, promoting effective information sharing and outreach, and introducing sectoral improvements for inclusive service delivery.
Sony, K.C.; Upreti, B.R.; Paudel, S.B.; Gopikesh Acharya; Annal Tandukar; Babken Babajanian. The Old Age Allowance and perceptions of the state in Rolpa District, Nepal. SLRC Working Paper 25. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, UK (2014) 37 pp.