CHENNAI: Members of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, picketed government offices across the State, demanding an increase in monthly pension to disabled individuals from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000. The protesters said their demands to the previous government fell on deaf ears and the DMK, during their election campaign, had promised to increase the pension.
The TARATDAC members picketed over 117 government buildings, including the offices of the tahsildar, the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), and the collector. S Namburajan, State general secretary of TARATAC, said there are around 5.20 lakh individuals receiving disability pension from the State.
Of this, 3,28,546 are physically challenged individuals receiving Rs 1,000 a month. Another 1,96,144, comprising people with intellectual disability, muscular disorientation, leprosy, and Parkinson disease, receive Rs 1,500 a month. In Chennai, the protests were held at Kolathur, Thiruvottiyur, Egmore, Guindy, and Tambaram, where around 500 people were detained by the police in marriage halls and later released.
TARATDAC president Jansi Rani told TNIE that the pension has not been revised in the past ten years and that requests made to the previous government went unheeded. “We seek a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 a month for disabled individuals and Rs 5,000 a month for severely disabled individuals. The DMK, during their election campaign, had promised to increase our pensions by Rs 500,” she said.
Notably, Telangana gives Rs 3,016 a month as pension to the disabled, Andhra Pradesh Rs 3,000, and Puducherry Rs 3,800. “When we protested in 2020, the DMK supported us and promised increase in pension amount if they came to power. We thought the increase would be effected during the first financial statement or on the International Day of Disabled Persons on December 3; but we were disappointed,” said S Namburajan, who was detained along with his comrades in Thanjavur.
H Gunasekaran, a member of the association who was protesting from his tricycle in front of the taluk office in Thiruvottiyur, said it is hard to lead a decent life with the money provided by the government, given that the prices of necessities have skyrocketed.
Around 1,96,144 people with intellectual disability, muscular disorientation, leprosy, and Parkinson disease, receive a mere Rs 1,500 as monthly pension.