Andhra Pradesh: Rs 4,400 crore pension extended to 65 lakh under NTR Bharosa

As promised before the elections, the TDP-led NDA government hiked the pensions to Rs 4,000 from Rs 3,000.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu handing over pension to the beneficiaries at Penumaka village in Guntur district on Monday
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu handing over pension to the beneficiaries at Penumaka village in Guntur district on Monday Photo | Express

VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday launched the NTR Bharosa Pension Scheme by personally handing over aid to a family at Penumaka village in Mangalagiri Assembly constituency in the Amaravati capital region.

As promised before the elections, the TDP-led NDA government hiked the pensions to Rs 4,000 from Rs 3,000. For the month of July, Rs 7,000 was disbursed, which included the arrears of Rs 3,000 for the past three months. A total sum of Rs 4,408 crore will be distributed to 65.31 lakh beneficiaries across the State under the scheme.

The Chief Minister extended the aid to Islavath Sai in the ST Colony of Penumaka village and her family in their hut. Sai, her father Banavath Pamulyanayak and mother Banavath Sita all are daily wage workers. He enquired about their living conditions and source of income. Further, he advised them to utilise pensions not just to support themselves, but also as an investment to improve their quality of life. “The government will do its part in helping you, but you should strive to come out of poverty and provide a better future for your children,” he told Sai and her family.

Addressing a gathering at the Masjid Centre in Penumaka, the Chief Minister termed the launch of NTR Bharosa Pension historic and reiterated that he will strive to create wealth and give it back to the people to help them come out of poverty. “My ultimate goal is to make Andhra Pradesh poverty-free,” he said.

He recalled how he was mocked by the previous government for suggesting the utilisation of services of the village/ward secretariat staff for pension disbursement when the Election Commission barred volunteers.

Focus on bridging economic disparities

Naidu said, “The previous regime, out of spite, forced the elderly and infirm to go to the secretariats in the scorching sun to collect their pensions. This decision claimed 33 innocent lives.”

He also highlighted how he insisted on distributing the pensions in a single day. “Even the administration had said that it was not possible to use services of the secretariat staff to disburse the pension amount in a single day. I had asserted that it was very much possible and urged people to give me the power to make it happen. People believed in me and blessed me with unprecedented victory in the elections. Today, as promised I came at 6 am to disburse pensions. As many as 1.2 lakh secretariat staff will disburse a total sum of Rs 4,408 crore to 65.31 lakh beneficiaries across the State.”

Pointing out that it was TDP founder and former CM NT Rama Rao who had introduced pensions with an initial amount of Rs 35 per month, Naidu highlighted that he had hiked the sum to Rs 75, Rs 200, Rs 1,000 through the years when the TDP was in power and then to Rs 2,000 during 2014-19. He added that now his government has enhanced the pension to Rs 4,000 from Rs 3,000.

The Chief Minister said the total amount being spent on pensions is estimated to be Rs 33,100 crore per annum and Rs 1.65 lakh crore for five years, much higher than what the previous YSRC government had spent. “This is our first step towards fulfilling the promises made to the people and bridging economic disparities. We take inspiration from our party founder NTR’s words ‘Samajame Devalayam, Prajale Devulu’ (Society is the temple, people are Gods),” he said.

The elderly, widows, single women, handloom workers, toddy tappers, fishermen, transgenders, and artists of different kinds will receive Rs 4,000 every month, while the differently-abled will receive Rs 6,000, up from Rs 3,000. Pension for 24,318 beneficiaries, who have been suffering from serious ailments and are bedridden, has been hiked to Rs 15,000 from Rs 5,000. The additional burden on the exchequer will be Rs 819 crore per month, he explained.

Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu disburses pensions under NTR Bharosa to beneficiaries at Penumaka village in Guntur district on Monday.
Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu disburses pensions under NTR Bharosa to beneficiaries at Penumaka village in Guntur district on Monday.

He noted that the first five files he cleared soon after assuming charge were to conduct the Mega DSC, enhance pensions, scrap the Land Titling Act, revive Anna canteens, and conduct a Skill Census. Further, he assured the people that all 185 Anna Canteens across the State will be opened soon and on the same day. He said meals will be provided for Rs 5 like before. Naidu added that training will also be imparted to the youth to sharpen their skills and to provide them with better job opportunities.

Seeking blessings and the cooperation of the people, the Chief Minister remarked that their role in bringing back the State on the right track is very much important.

“The last five years proved why a person unfit for politics should not be given power. Now I will show how a capable person can make a difference. You all will see Chandrababu Naidu of 1995, albeit version 4.0,” he said exuding confidence.

The Chief Minister also thanked the people of Mangalagiri for choosing the TDP-led NDA with a majority of more than 91,000 votes. He asserted that his government is duty-bound to develop Mangalagiri, which is a part of the capital region, comprehensively. Mangalagiri MLA and Minister for HRD and IT Nara Lokesh also spoke on the occasion.

According to a statement released by the State government later in the day, pensions to 95% of the total beneficiaries were disbursed on Monday. Congratulating the official machinery, and village and ward secretariats, the Chief Minister said, “It has been proved once again that under able leadership anything is possible.” He observed that such a record had not been achieved under the previous government, but the NDA has done it one month.

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