Bihar to start pension for Covid widows this month
The Bihar government has expedited the process for providing relief to Covid-19 widows by helping them avail the Lakshmibai pension scheme run by the state government and social welfare department plans to start disbursing monthly pension as early as June, officials said.
This is in addition to ₹4 lakh ex gratia to the kin of those who succumbed to Covid-19.
The Lakshmi Bai Pension Yojana in Bihar covers all widows 18-40 years of age whose annual family income is below ₹60,000 and who are not covered by the Indira Gandhi widow pension scheme of the Central government, which caters to women between 40-59 years of age from BPL families.
The social welfare department has so far identified 2,026 such widows who lost their husbands to the coronavirus and are from the below poverty line (BPL) families. Around 70% of them have also provided their bank account details for transfer of monthly pension of ₹400.
“We will soon start disbursing the amount in their bank accounts so that they start getting their pension from June itself. We already have the account numbers of 70% of the applicants and efforts are on to complete the process for the rest also. Out team is working to enrol every needy person so that they get the support,” said Rajkumar, director, department of social welfare.
Patna has the highest number of Covid widows (176), followed by West Champaran (153), Begusarai (110), Muzaffarpur and Rohtas (95 each). The figures are still being compiled.
The officer said that effort was to facilitate the pension payment at the earliest in view of hardships faced by families. “In many cases, the officials visited the homes of the affected families to get the documentation process completed and bank accounts opened, if they were not already,” Rajkumar said.
The Bihar government has also announced to provide ₹4 lakh as compensation to family of those who succumbed to Covid-19 in the state. According to the health department bulletin, the Covid death toll has reached 5,458 in the state.