Jharkhand: Over half of the eligible population, still deprived of social security pensions, says Jean Drèze
According to the eminent socio-economist Jean Drèze, as many as 3 lakh pensioners were deleted as 'fake' in 2016-17 after Aadhaar was made mandatory for all social security pensions.
RANCHI: Noted development activist and social economist Jean Drèze has claimed that problems related to payments under social welfare schemes have doubled after they were linked to Aadhaar. Speaking during a public hearing organized by the 'Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad' in Ranchi, Drèze, revealed that half of the elderly, widows and differently-abled persons in the state who qualified for social security pensions were still deprived of their entitlements.
"According an estimate as per the census of 2011, out of a total eligible populations of 35,08,088, half of the widows, elderly persons and disabled persons are still not covered by social security schemes," said Drèze. Even those who are receiving social security pension are not getting it on time or are not able to receive it due to technical glitches, he added.
According to the eminent socio-economist, as many as 3 lakh pensioners were deleted as 'fake' in 2016-17 after Aadhaar was made mandatory for all social security pensions, though many genuine persons whose pension accounts were not linked with Aadhaar were also excluded in the process. Moreover, the pension amount is often deposited in the wrong or different bank account linked with Aadhaar, and the pensioners are not even aware of it, he added.
"Therefore, we demand that Aadhaar be removed as a mandatory criterion for all social security pensions, and implement universal pension without restrictions, besides increasing pension to at least Rs 2000 per month from Rs 600 per month, which is less than half of the minimum wages," said the development economist. The pension amount must reach the pensioner's bank account by the seventh of every month, as per an order of the Supreme Court, he added.
Balram of the Right to Food Campaign also opined that there were several problems due to 'Aadhaar' as online the process has been excluding people from their rightful service.
"There should be an auto inclusion process according to which, as soon as people reaches to a certain age, their pension should get started automatically without applications and any exclusion should be considered as violation," said Balram.
The Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad' was also of the view that application and sanctioning procedure also needs to be simplified and edibility age for old age pension should also be reduced to 55 for men and 50 for women.
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered at Raj Bhavan on Friday during the public hearing and presented their testimonies before the panelists. Their primary demand was the 'Right to Universal Social Security Pensions' ahead of 'World Elderly Day' on October 1.