In a major worry for pensioners in Delhi, pension beneficiaries are being denied by district-level officials for not having bank accounts linked with Aadhaar, according to Indian Express report. The Social Welfare Department of the Aam Aadmi Party government has made the observation. Taking cognizant of the issue, it has also sent a stern message that officials responsible will face action if they continued to turn away the pension beneficiaries, the IE report says.
“It is a matter of regret that some district officers are reported to have been behaving in the most callous and insensitive manner by turning away people for non-availability/non-linking of the Aadhaar number. It may be noted that such behaviour… is not acceptable and any complaint received to this effect shall be viewed seriously and may render the officers/officials concerned liable to appropriate administrative action,” Social Welfare Department Secretary Rashmi Krishnan wroted in a circular dated September 20. This comes nearly two months after the Delhi Cabinet approved the department’s proposal to delink Aadhaar with pension benefits.
Even as the Aadhaar is not needed, the Delhi government will depute anganwadi workers to gather the Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries whose names are not in the list of those who have already linked Aadhar with their bank accounts. The government said that the collection process will also help verify the “living status as well as residence status” of these cases. “Further, verification of the beneficiaries would be made mandatory at least once a year so as to regularly weed out the dead, duplicate and migrated cases. This verification may be done through biometric authentication or physical inspection or other means…” the note added.
Pension beneficiers aged between 60 and 69 under the Delhi government get Rs 2,000 per month, those who aged 70 or above get Rs 2,500. The senior citizens, who have been residents of Delhi for at least five years and have a family income of Rs 1 lakh per annum or less. Disability pension is Rs 2,500 per month. Until the delinking, 33,191 old age pension beneficiaries and 9,799 disability pension beneficiaries were being deprived of the enhanced pension rates, as per the department’s estimate.