Those over 60 years of age who served government offices for years may have retired from work, but not from financial worries. Reason: Getting pension is a never-ending struggle for them.
The story doesn’t end here. After their death, this struggle is inherited by the grief-stricken dependents.
However, the state’s pension department — despite many changes – has failed to ease the burden of ex-employees eligible for this income.
“Getting the pension fixed is not the only thing. The fight is also about ensuring that it continues to be credited to the account every month,” said a pensioner.
As per rules, the pensioners are required to submit proof of their being alive (jeevit praman patra) once a year. Only after the office receives these papers the pension is continued in the next financial year.
But things are not as simple. Pensioners complain that often despite submitting all the documents required, pension amount is not credited to their accounts.
“They come up with petty objections and to get them corrected you really have to bargain. The process does not move ahead without greasing the palms of the babus at the treasury offices,” said another pensioner.
However, officials of the pension department claim that a lot of initiatives have been taken to set things right. The entire system is computerised and the pensions are credited directly to the accounts. But the pensioners still maintain that all is not well with the system.
“It is a known fact that one has to loosen purse strings to get files moved in the pension office,” lamented Ashok Mishra, a senior citizen.
While all those who have had an encounter with the pension department have their own tales of pendency to share. But the officials say that the treasury office and the department concerned should take responsibility, as they too are major contributors to the delay.