Govt to hike old age pension
In what comes as a minor relief to the senior citizens, the government on Thursday stated that it would enhance the old age pension to Rs 300 from the present Rs 200 per month.
However, the pensions could be indexed to inflation, on the pattern of MG-NREGA wages, thus allowing increase in amount with price rise.
The statement from rural development minister Jairam Ramesh in the Rajya Sabha comes as elderly people from across the country stage protests at Jantar Mantar demanding higher pensions.
National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy is leading the protest under the banner Pension Parishad.
The government further stated that it is mulling universalisation of pensions by removing the BPL and APL distinction, as applicable now.
Changes could also be brought in widow pensions to cover widows above 18 years instead of present 40 years. People with 40 percent disability would qualify for disability pensions instead of 80 per cent as of now.
Though welcoming the announcement Roy said the government has to implement the changes immediately to pave way for further enhancement.