Pending pension claims in Telangana leave many in dire straits

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3 15,262 applications for various pensions have been pending for four years

3 15,262 applications for various pensions have been pending for four years

B. Kavitha lost her husband two years ago. A farmer of a small landholding in Turkapalli village of Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district, he committed suicide due to an ever increasing number of debts.

After her husband’s death, Kavitha got little relief from anywhere. Whatever small farm property they had cultivated was in his father-in-law’s name, therefore they could not get the amount of insurance or any government assistance.

“Thanks to the District Collector’s initiative, my son was admitted to Kendriya Vidyalaya, although my daughter’s application was rejected. I had to leave cultivation to my brother-in-law and move to a rented house at the district headquarters for my son’s education. And to meet the expenses, I started working as support staff at AIIMS-Bibinagar,” shares Kavitha.

She has to commute between Bhuvanagiri and Bibinagar every day, and with the recent increase in bus fares, she is unable to match her income with her expenses.

“My application for a widow’s pension was approved two years ago, but I haven’t received any benefits yet. Every time I ask the officials, they respond saying I will get it as soon as the funds are cleared,” Kavitha explains.

Kavitha is still a later candidate. Md. Shabana from the same village filed a claim four years ago when her husband died of a heart attack at a wedding party.

“I have made repeated rounds to the mandal headquarters, but each time they say the application has been approved but there are no funds,” the mother-of-two says.

According to information obtained through an RTI application, a total of 3,15,262 applications from across the state for various types of pensions are pending over the past four years. Of the applicants, 1,59,452 are widows, 64,749 are elderly and 55,619 are disabled.

Apart from that, a whopping eight lakh old age pension applications were approved at district level, after the government reduced the age criteria from 65 to 57. They have yet to be passed on to the state government.

As per the revised pensions in Telangana, elderly and widows without other support are entitled to a pension of ₹2,016 per month, while disabled persons are entitled to a pension of ₹3,016 per month.

“Although there are several categories, the condition of widows, the handicapped and the elderly is particularly pathetic. They waited a long time despite having their applications approved at the mandal and district level. It is high time for the government to consider them positively because they are as eligible as anyone who is already collecting pensions,” says Kondal Reddy of Rythu Swarajya Vedika who obtained the information from RTI.

It also asks that the applicants receive pension arrears calculated from the date of approval of their applications, because the delay is on the side of the Treasury.

Pensions are also offered by the state government for toddy tappers, weavers, beedi workers, unmarried women, HIV patients and filaria patients.

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