BJP, Cong wary over independent MLA’s moves
With journalist Umesh Kumar, who won the Uttarakhand Assembly election from Khanpur seat of Haridwar district, launching a political party earlier this month, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress are said to be wary. Kumar won from Khanpur as an independent candidate by defeating the wife of incumbent MLA Pranab Kuwar Singh ‘Champion’. ‘Champion’ is a controversial legislator who was with the Congress earlier but later joined the BJP in March 2016. The leaders of both national parties are closely watching every move of Kumar and how he plans to expand his ‘Uttarakhand Janta Party’. Meanwhile, Kumar has given the dissenting faction of Congress MLAs an offer to join his party.
Monthly delivery of pensions soon
The Uttarakhand government is planning to transfer social security pension on a monthly basis instead of every three months to senior citizens, widows and specially abled beneficiaries in the state. L Fanai, principal secretary, social welfare department, said: “The move will benefit more than 6.5 lakh people across the state. The decision is to deliver pensions on a monthly basis. Soon the new system will start working.” Senior citizens get Rs 1,400 per month while specially abled people and windows get Rs 1,200 per month. In December 2019, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report had pointed out irregularities of over Rs 20 crore in the state’s pension system.