The state government has stopped providing pension to over eight lakh beneficiaries in Rajasthan, reportedly to verify their eligibility for the provision. A majority of the affected pensioners hail from Udaipur, followed by Jaipur and Chittorgarh.
The government, in a written response, informed the state assembly that district collectors have been told to verify the eligibility of the pensioners whose names have been deleted. Teams comprising officials such as gram sewaks and patwaris would be formed to check if anybody has been erroneously struck out of the lists due to factors like death and duplicacy.
The government was replying to a question raised by Congress MLA Govind Singh Dotasara during the two-day assembly session held recently. The verification process will be completed soon, it said, adding that beneficiaries would be “given arrears if they are found eligible”.
Dotasara, however, was far from convinced. “The state government wants to deprive the poor, the disabled and the widowed of their rights in the name of verification. It is doing this because the pension scheme was introduced by the Congress. The verification process is a routine exercise that doesn’t require halting of pension distribution,” he told HT.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot also decried the government move. “It’s a grave matter that pensions of more than 8 lakh people have been stopped in #Rajasthan,” he tweeted.
Until January 1, 2014, as many as 54,64,470 pensioners had been receiving monetary benefits under social security schemes (old-age, widow and disabled pensions) run by the state and central governments. The figure increased to 59, 03,027 by August 1, 2016. The maximum beneficiaries were from Alwar (3,05,503), followed by Udaipur (3,00,265), Nagaur (2,91,478), Bhilwara (2,83,048) and Jodhpur (2,38,730).