Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan has urged the Uttar Pradesh government to redirect the pension amount of Rs 50,000, which each member of his family was supposed to get every month, to “any noble charitable scheme or cause that benefits the poor and the needy”.
According to reports, Amitabh along with his wife Jaya Bachchan and son Abhishek Bachchan have become the beneficiaries of the state government’s latest pension scheme, which grants Rs 50,000 per month for life, to people who have been awarded the state’s Yash Bharti Samman.
“I respect the UP government’s honour of the Yash Bharti Award to members of my family, and their decision as per reports in the press, for providing pension of Rs.50,000 per month to each recipient, I am requesting the UP government, with all humility, to redirect the entire amount designated for my family towards any noble charitable scheme or cause that benefits the poor and the needy,” Amitabh said in a statement.
“I shall be writing to the Chief Minister in this regard, in a separate communication,” the 73-year-old added.
The Bachchan request is seen as a swift reaction. Rules state that an awardee must apply and prove his or her eligibility for the pension. The person should be a domicile of UP working in the state and must submit a life certificate for continuation of pension at the beginning of every financial year.
The Yash Bharti award is given to eminent people belonging to the state in the fields of art, culture, sports, literature, medicine, journalism and social service.
Other than Bachchan, no artiste in the state has decided to donate the pension to charity. In fact, they welcomed the state government’s move as well as that of the superstar.
“Amitabhji’s great gesture is an example of greatness of people of UP. It gives a strong message but every individual has his own ways of doing things,” singer Kailash Kher said.
“This money (pension) will do a lot of good to those who need it badly because in our field there is a lot of uncertainty. Kabhi arsh par to kabhi farsh par (sometimes in the sky and sometimes on the ground) is what defines us.”
Brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra, who got the Yash Bharti award for 2013-2014, found a feeling of financial security in the scheme because classical artistes have limited listeners and resources unlike their Bollywood counterparts.
“We train students for free. We are solely dependent on shows. If there are shows, there is money. If there are no shows, we are idle,” Rajan said.
But there are a number of unanswered questions that have restricted the awardees from getting into celebration mode. “We have to find out if a person already entitled to other allowances from the government will get this new pension,” theater personality Urmil Kumar Thapliyal said.
Kathak dancer and academician Kumkum Dhar called the state government’s decision a blessing when people hardly bother about the artistes.
A government official said the new pension scheme was decided keeping in mind the financial condition of those facing financial hardships despite winning awards at national and international levels. (With inputs from IANS)