Even before the controversy has not died down over the reported faulty survey of the blue card holders under the atta-dal scheme, questions are now being raised on the similar exercise held to weed out the ineligible beneficiaries of old age pension in the district.
After the so-called physical inspection was undertaken in January and February this year by employees deputed by the respective sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs), around 25,712 were found fake pensioners out of 81,311 lakh beneficiaries under the old age pension scheme.
Now when these “fake” beneficiaries turned up at the offices of the social security department, with their complaints, 7,000 pensioners out of 25,712 have been reinstated as genuine ones under the old age pension scheme.
Speaking to HT, district social security officer Dalwinder Singh said it is hard to tell what went wrong during verification drive, but claimed that 7,000 pensions have been restored after re-verification.
Meanwhile, a senior officer also told that as elections are nearing, several MLAs are also approaching the administration for re-verification as they don’t want to anger their voters. He said that during another exercise those who want to restore their pensions will be asked to furnish their bank details, UID number and voter cards.
As per details, in December 2014, a verification survey of old age pensioners ordered by the state government, which was held in first two months of this year, had detected that 31.6% of old age pensioners registered with the district social security department were ineligible.
Out of total pensioners in the district, only 55,599 were found eligible for pension and the rest were found bogus.
Around 55.27% old age pension beneficiaries in the urban area, including 60 wards of the municipal corporation, were found ineligible.
The report was sent to the state chief secretary by the district administration after survey reports were submitted by subdivisional magistrates (SDMs) of Jalandhar-I, JalandharII, Shahkot, Nakodar and Phillaur.
The report revealed that there were 7,566 old pensioners in area under Jalandhar-I, 24,561 in Jalandhar city area, 12,535 in SDM-II, 9,329 in Nakodar, 8,203 in Shahkot and 19,117 in Phillaur before the start of the survey.
After completion of the survey, around 21% in Jalandhar-I, 55.2% in the city area, 25% in SDM-II, 26.43% in Nakodar, 25.60% in Shahkot and 14.98% in Phillaur were found ineligible for pension.
As per government norms, men above 65 years and women above 58 are eligible for the old age pension in the state.
In case of old age pension, the beneficiary should not earn more than Rs 3,000 per month and he or she should not own more than 2-4 acres of land.