Pensions to be released to beneficiaries by April 3, says AP CS

Vijayawada: The ban imposed on the services of village/ward volunteers even to disburse social security pensions to the aged persons at their doorstep may serve as a boon to the ruling YSRC.

It may also prove to be a bane to the opposition Telugu Desam in the Assembly and LS polls, as party chief Chandrababu Naidu is seen as the villain of the piece behind this EC decision.

The Opposition Telugu Desam has been raising a hue and cry over involvement of village/ward volunteers for varied services including election-related work. Its allegation was that the ruling YSRC was availing their services. The TD lodged a complaint with the election authorities. Accordingly, the EC issued directions the other day, imposing a ban on the volunteers in election related work and also from distribution of cash benefits under the pension and other schemes to the lakhs of beneficiaries across AP.

With this, the beneficiaries including the elderly, single women, widows, disabled, weavers, toddy tappers, fishermen, traditional cobblers, patients suffering with HIV/AIDS and others are badly hit. They used to get a monthly enhanced pension of Rs 3,000 on the first day of every month at their doorstep through the volunteers.

Nearly 66.34 lakh people get the monthly pension of Rs 3,000 as it was enhanced periodically from 2,250 by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government. The government spent `83,526 crore to give pensions ever since it assumed power in 2019. It even sanctioned 29.51 lakh new pensions in the last 55 months across the state.

Notably, the previous Telugu Desam government provided pensions to only 39 lakh persons, until six months before last elections. It provided a monthly pension of Rs 1,000 up to two months before last elections and incurred an expenditure of just Rs 27,687 crore for its term of five years to disburse pensions.

Jagan Mohan Reddy as CM evolved a system wherein 2.6 lakh volunteers are entrusted with the task of providing all kinds of services including delivery of pension amount at the doorstep of the beneficiaries on the first day of every month.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary K.S. Jawahar Reddy held a review meeting with the district election officers and assured the beneficiaries that the government would come up with guidelines on disbursal of pensions to the beneficiaries by Monday night.

He said the staff from the village/ward secretariats and other employees would be roped in to disperse pensions from April 3.

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