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Social audit reveals 11,600 ‘missing’ pensioners

A social audit by the social welfare department has revealed 11,700 people ‘missing’ from the list of pensioners, officials say ‘nothing unusual’

dehradun Updated: Mar 29, 2018 21:14 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times, Haldwani
Uttarakhand News
Officials said social audit is conducted with the help of gram pradhans and concerned citizens and ’always reveals the exact number of pensioners’.(HT File Photo)

An annual social audit by the social welfare department has revealed 11,700 people ‘missing’ from the list of pensioners, which means either they are dead or they have not staked their pension claim for some reasons.

The number seems quite high considering the population in the hill state. However, the department officials take the number as normal figure, citing that the social audit is conducted with the help of gram pradhans and concerned citizens and “always reveals the exact number of pensioners”.

They said the family members of pensioners usually do not reveal about the death and it is the social audit which reveals the number of such people. “We only come to know about the death of a pensioner through the social audit and we then remove the names from the list of pensioners,” said Major Yogendra Yadav, the social welfare department director.

The department gives pension to people under three categories — old age, widow and handicapped. The pension money ranges between Rs 1,000 and 1,200 per month.

To bring transparency in the pension disbursement, the department had asked the pensioners to link their pension accounts with the Aadhaar, which has revealed a large number of ‘missing’ pensioners.

Talking about the ‘missing’ pensioners, Major Yadav said their names were present on the pension rolls, but money in their pension account was not withdrawn, as the withdrawal can be done only by the pensioner. “No money has been misappropriated by these people and the names of 11,700 persons will be removed soon after verification,” he said.

However, Chandrashekhar Kargeti, a lawyer familiar with the functioning of social welfare department, said that the matter should be probed and it should be ascertained if any scam has taken place or not.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 21:14 IST