Activists Seek Delhi CM's Help for Pensions to the Elderly

New Delhi
Activists Seek Delhi CM's Help for Pensions to the Elderly

Activists of 'Pension Parishad', including Aruna Roy, today asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to intervene and stop the "system of patronage" in the Delhi government's pension programme and improve the coverage of the scheme.

"We wish to draw your attention to the several problems with the pension scheme of the Delhi government and request you to remedy the situation expeditiously as the elderly may not even survive without adequate pension support," the letter written by social activists Roy, Akhila Sivadas, Mathew Cherian and Baba Adhav to Kejriwal said.

"Applications are approved not by the administration using fixed criteria, but by legislators. Pensions are granted and stopped arbitrarily, without prior intimation. This system of patronage needs to be terminated immediately.

"Moreover, a mere 34 cent of the elderly population is covered under the scheme," the letter from Pension Parishad, a conglomeration of social organisations seeking universal pension for elderly people, said.

The letter, while congratulating Kejriwal, stated that the elderly from Delhi and across the country have held protests to draw attention to their plight over the last six Parliamentary sessions and their issue be given utmost priority.

"Yogendra Yadav, representing Aam Aadmi Party, addressed the protesters on these occasions. More recently, Prashant Bhushan, while interacting with the elderly during the dharna, acknowledged that pensions did not feature in the AAP manifesto.

"However, he had assured that if AAP came to power, the party would ensure that the issue of pension for the elderly is given the utmost priority," the letter said.

Delhi has a population of 14 lakh elderly, who are amongst the most vulnerable in the state. They have contributed to the economy during their working years but are bereft and often destitute when they are no longer able to work to sustain themselves, it said.

The Delhi government supplements the sum of Rs 200 provided under National Social Assistance Programme to give a total monthly pension of Rs 1,000 per month to those over 60 years.

Those from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and those above 70 years get a monthly pension of Rs 1,500, the letter said.

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