Taking up a petition highlighting that the Punjab government had failed to release the central government pension schemes’ grants, including oldage, widow and disability pensions, from June last year to the people below poverty line, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the state government and Centre to file their replies.
Kuljit Singh Bedi, former municipal councillor, SAS Nagar, in his petition has also sought directions to the Centre for revision of the amount of pension under these schemes by relating the same with the consumer price index.
It was submitted that the union department of social security is operating social security schemes for decades and releases grants to various states, including Punjab, for further disbursement to beneficiaries.
As of now, the financial assistant to old and infirm persons; widows and destitute women; and disabled persons is Rs 250 per month.
The petitioner submitted that despite getting financial grants from the Centre, the Punjab government had not released the pension under these schemes since June last year in the name of financial crises.
The petitioner informed the court that as per news reports in vernacular newspapers, since the Punjab government had not issued utilisation certificates to the Centre even to the extent of 50%, the latter has withheld grant for the next financial year 2014-15. The petitioner has also requested for directions to the Centre for release of grants for 2014-15.