Decision on social security pension hike in limbo
STATE GOVERNMENT had almost announced hike in social security pension for senior citizens from Rs 150 to Rs 400 per head last month but when financial implications of the move were laid bare before Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan he beat a hasty retreat.india Updated: May 30, 2006 14:43 IST
STATE GOVERNMENT had almost announced hike in social security pension for senior citizens from Rs 150 to Rs 400 per head last month but when financial implications of the move were laid bare before Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan he beat a hasty retreat.
For the moment, the proposal is in limbo. Nearly 11 lakh eligible beneficiaries are awaiting decision with their fingers crossed.
Union Government has already doubled 50 per cent of its share for the social security scheme. The State Government too proposed to match the increase by hiking the pension from Rs 150 to Rs 400 per person.
In doing so, the Government, however, did not give thought to the fact that matching Central grant was available for beneficiaries above 65 years of age. For persons between 60 and 65, social security pension is entirely State Government's burden.
As per the calculation of Social Welfare department, the Government will have to bear an additional burden of nearly Rs 196.95 crore if pension is hiked from Rs 150 to Rs 400 for citizens between 60 and 65.
The additional burden will be Rs 62.32 crore for hike in pension for citizens above 65 as the Union Government is contributing 50 per cent share.
While the number of beneficiaries in the above 65 category is 4,15,500, those in the 60-65 category is 6,56,500. According to sources, some rounds of meetings have already taken place on this matter. Social Justice Minister Rampal Singh told Hindustan Times the State Government has already drafted a proposal in this regard.
“As guidelines about increase made by the Union Government are yet to be received, the State Government has not increased the pension money,” he said.
According to the minister, the Social Justice department has already forwarded the proposal for increasing amount of the pension to the Finance department.