The Punjab government has found that it has been paying old age pension to more than Rs 2.93 lakh ‘bogus’ beneficiaries all these years. In five years alone, it has cost the state exchequer a whopping Rs 450 crore.
A comprehensive verification drive carried out by the department of social security revealed the astounding number of ‘bogus’ pensioners. They, however, now stand weeded out of the system. Interestingly, the department had undertaken an exercise to review the list of over Rs 13.6 lakh old age pensioners in the state at least twice in the past six years. While once the exercise was cut short by the Parkash Singh Badal-led cabinet, the second such initiative brought to the fore over 70,000 “fake” beneficiaries.
A fresh verification drive was undertaken in December 2014 after a preliminary 15-day exercise revealed that almost 36% of those getting pension in the state were not authorised to receive it. Following this, a six month door-to-door drive was launched that revealed that of the total old age pensioners, 21.6% are ineligible.