Bihar to start pensions for 2026 Covid-19 widows from June
With the Coronavirus devouring many bread-earners of families, the Bihar government has expedited the process for providing relief to widows by helping them avail the Lakshmibai pension scheme. This is apart from the ₹4-lakh compensation to kin of those who succumbed to Covid-19.
Though the scheme, for widows above 18 years of age and who are not covered by the central scheme, the Indira Gandhi national pension scheme, is not new, the state’s social welfare department has worked overtime to enroll women widowed in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department has so far identified 2026 such widows, who lost their husbands and are from below poverty line (BPL) families, while 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 have the account numbers of 70% of the applicants, while efforts are on to complete the process for the rest also. Our team is working to enroll every needy person so that they get support,” said director, department of social welfare, Rajkumar.
The Lakshmibai pension scheme covers widows below the age of 40 years who are not covered by the Indira Gandhi widow pension scheme of the Central government, which caters to women between 40-59 years from BPL families. The Lakshmibai Pension Yojana in Bihar covers all widows above 18 years of age whose annual family income is below ₹60,000.
Patna has the highest number of widows due to Covid-19 at 176, followed by West Champaran (153), Begusarai (110), Muzaffarpur and Rohtas (95 each). The figures are still being compiled.
The officer said that the effort was to facilitate the pension payment early 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 there. The officials also helped families apply in the prescribed format. The department has continued with the process, as the chief minister wants that all needy women must get assistance,” he added.
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 a health department bulletin, the Covid-19 death toll has touched 5458 in the state.