On the 5th day of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s padayatra (9th November 2017), he announced that pensioners will be given an amount of Rs. 3000 per person. Moreover, in the same padayatra he promised to decrease the minimum age for pensioners in SC, ST and BC communities to 45 years.
After coming to power YSRCP announced that a pension amount of Rs. 2,250 will be given and that the amount will be gradually increased every year to Rs. 3,000 within 4 years. Even the reduction of pensioners’ age was not fulfilled. Essentially, the Government diluted the scheme. Moreover, there are several terms and conditions that have been introduced to reduce the number of pensioners.
Many senior citizens have been excluded from the beneficiaries list and have been rendered helpless. An 80-year-old woman from Guntur district lost her pension and was worried about meeting her medical expenses amounting to Rs. 1,000 per month and also her ration expenses. Another 65-year-old woman from East Godavari district lost her pension as her son was working in Visakhapatnam. But as she has been staying alone in her village and does not have any other way to feed herself, she commented that she has no other way to support her livelihood but to beg. Many such pensioners were stripped of their pension.
A physically challenged woman named Saraswati with about 80% of disability living with her old-age mother also lost her pension as her mother was already being given a pension. Nearly 4-5 lakh beneficiaries were made ineligible citing several reasons.
Even though the Government is keen on implementing several welfare measures, removing several lakhs of beneficiaries from the pensioners list is not acceptable, as pensioners are not even capable of protesting and most of them would die of hunger. For the sake of humanity, the Government should consider reinstating these pensions at the earliest.