Change in rules for eligibility of Delhi government's old age pension scheme has increased the beneficiaries by more than a lakh over the last three years. However, the scheme has not been able to reach out to a large number of elders who retired from private jobs and have no pension.
It was in 2009 that the department of Social Welfare (DSW) relaxed conditions with respect of proofs to be submitted. "We have given several options when it comes to submitting age proof or residence proof. The list of documents that are permissible as proofs has been made more exhaustive, which has increased the outreach," said Sanjiv Kumar, DSW secretary.
All it requires is a proof of five years' residence in Delhi, age proof and income declaration apart from recommendation from area's MLA/MP.
"The number of beneficiaries has increased from 2,49,588 in 2009-10 to 3,90,603 in 2011-12," said Saroj Rawat, DSW's deputy director (financial assistance scheme).
However, despite the increase in number of beneficiaries - against the approximate 11 lakh senior citizens across Delhi - people who retired from private jobs have nothing but their meagre savings to fall on in case of emergencies.
"These people are not aware that if they have no fresh income - the government's eligibility criterion mentions income R60,000 per annum or less - they can apply for government pension," said JR Gupta of Confederation of Senior Citizens Associations of Delhi.
An official from the department said, "We have a transparent process of sanctioning financial assistance."