Govt may link old age pension with inflation index

The government is contemplating of linking Old age pension with inflation index on the pattern of MNREGA besides being made universal by doing away with APL and BPL criteria.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said,  “Government has reached a broad consensus on the issue after two rounds of talks with Pension Parishad. Elderly people from different states are staging dharna at Jantar Mantar for universalisation of pension scheme. The Prime Minister has asked me to talk to them…An agreement is likely in the next three to four months.”

Elderly people are on dharna under the banner of Pension Parishad at Jantar Mantar here demanding universal old-age pension for all those above 55 years.

Ramesh was responding to members’ concern over dharna by the elderly people, who are demanding increase in the pension to Rs 2,000 a month from Rs 200 at present.

Informing members that it will be made Rs 300 per month, Ramesh said, “I agree that today Rs 300 a month is nothing and it should be increased. It should be linked to inflation as in case of MNREGA.

“While the government spent Rs 8,400 crore in 2012-13 on pensions, it plans to spend Rs 9,400 crore in 2013-14,” Ramesh said, regretting that barely four or five states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were disbursing the pension amount every month while others distributed the same once in seven or eight months.

The government is also contemplating amendments to other two pension schemes to make widows eligible for it at 18 years instead of present age cap of 40, and disabled with 40 per cent disability qualify for it instead of 80 per cent.

Source – PTI