[Essay] Old age Pension: Small mercy in the harsh lives, but When?

The critical importance of social security scheme such as old age pension is well agreed by all. As per the conventional assumption, it is a small mercy in the harsh lives experienced by them. But a thorough analysis on the social service scheme in India is not well established and it invites severe
criticism among the activists.


Flaws

Pension scheme for widow and the elderly people are many fold. Mainly they are;

1-      Narrow coverage
2-      Bureaucratic procedures
3-      Low pension amounts
4-      Irregular payments
5-      High collection costs

The first problem on narrow coverage begins with targeted group of the specified pension. Most probably the guideline states that the pension is meant only for below poverty line. But a reality lies in the relatively well off families that the money is always in short supply for them, and they are deprived for any kind. So not a just BPL pensioning but a universal approach is needed here.

The application procedure is too lengthy and complicated. All layers of administration beginning from grama panchayath to district magistrate the procedure is cumbersome.

The amount is very low. Even now the central government pays just RS. 200 for each pensioner. Some states implemented increments with their own resources.  For example, The Tamil Nadu government increased the amount to Rs 1,000 per month.

Payments are highly irregular. Some time it will take a year to distribute the wholesome amount.
Even if distribution is smooth the collection makes problem. Queuing and going to the nearest city is not viable especially for elderly people.  Somewhere which the post offices are nearer, the employees in post offices try to get their own dividends from the pot of this poor old men and women.

Sing of change

All these problems are easy to change and well done to correct. At present the associations like EKA narik shakti sangathan and pension Parishad ahd tried agitation for their own rights.  Someway it associated with resolving some crucial problems in this sector.

In odisha the pension sector is well regulated and established. The government there provides the fund on every 15 th of the month from their grama panchayath office, displaying the details of the lists on internet.

Central government has to go long to achieve the core purpose of pension scheme by not make too weight of austerity measures on these power less, vote less poor people.

By speedy implementing the UID scheme there is a good chance of regular and cheap way of social security scheme distribution.  But up to that time, what do our elderly societies while their numbers are immensely growing.

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