DAYS AFTER a group of people from Rajasthan staged a demonstration in Delhi, in an effort to prove that they are “alive” and urge the Rajasthan government to restore their pension, the monthly pension of at least eight people in one village was reinstated, with arrears, on Tuesday.
Names of the eight were struck off the list, along with nearly 10 lakh pensioners from across Rajasthan. Of them, nearly 3 lakh were “verified” as “dead”, including the eight whose pensions have now been revived.
“After acknowledging that a grave set of mistakes had been made, the block officer and the district administration attempted to get the affected pensioners to file new applications for the sanction of pension,” said Nikhil Dey of the Soochna Rozgar Abhiyan and the MKSS, which is helping the aggrieved pensioners fight for their right.
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The Collector of Rajsamand met the affected pensioners in Chaak Hirat village in an effort to look into their complaints, following which the social security pension was revived. It is, however, unclear whether cases from other districts will also be considered for a review.
Dey said manual re-verification in just one revenue village revealed that of 11 people who had been classified as dead, nine were alive. Eight of these people had recently travelled to Delhi to prove they were alive. “They were in a state of desperation for months to get their monthly pension of Rs 500,” Dey said.
The villagers insist that those responsible for cancelling the pensions should be made accountable, as they had “suffered for months” without an alternative source of income.
Dey said in subsequent verifications by SR Abhiyaan and MKSS, 13 more people classified as “dead” have been found to be alive in the same panchayat.
Members of the Abhiyan have written to Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment department, Rajasthan, reiterating that “action (including penalties) be imposed on all those responsible for wrongly verifying and stopping these pensions”.