Universal pension for all and inclusion of all waste pickers in Antyodaya Scheme under the Food Security Bill were the main issues raised in the conference organised by Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP)on Tuesday.
The main demands put forth were inclusion of all needy waste pickers in Antyodaya Scheme under the Food Security Bill,Universal Old Age Pension for all workers and reducing age of eligibility for pension workers to 50 and 55 for women and men respectively. They also demanded simplification of the process for enrolment and documents required.
The panel consisted of Shailaja Aralkarn from KKPKP,Shantatai Ranade,veteran labour activist Mannabai Nagtilak,Mariavva Kamble,Nazzabai Kadam and Kavera Shinde,all members of the union.
The waste pickers highlighted their struggles of dealing with old age,illness,lack of support and the constant feeling of being a burden to society. We are not asking the government to feel sorry for us and offer us charity. We are asking for what is dutifully ours in view of the years of hard work we have put in,which has contributed to cleaning the city and saving crores of rupees of solid waste management. All our work was unrecognised then and we remain unrecognised now, said Mannabai.
The Central government has a few schemes for pension under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) but that requires people to be included in the BPL lists. Most unorganised sector workers names are not included in the BPL lists as they are out for work when the survey takes place, said Maitreyi Shankar,member,KKPKP.
Many workers from Pune have even travelled to Delhi repeatedly to be a part of the Pension Parishad,a national level struggle,for a universal old age pension led by activists Aruna Roy and Baba Adhav, added Shankar.