Dead continue to get old-age pension in Punjab

Now, govt to seek life certificate from pensioners every three months

Dead continue to get old-age pension in Punjab

Photo for representation only.

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, August 4

Old-age pension is being credited into the accounts of hundreds of dead people across the state for the past five years and this is because no verification of beneficiaries receiving the social security pension has been done since 2017.

As a result, crores of rupees of the cash-strapped Punjab Government are going down the drain. It was 2017 when verification of these social security pensioners was done and it was found that the government was giving old-age pension to over 65,700 dead persons.

Officials in the state Social Welfare Department say that the number of social security pensioners has increased by a whopping 10 lakh in past five years, a majority of whom are old-age pensioners.

In 2017, the total social security pensioners were 19.8 lakh which have now increased to 29.29 lakh. Among these, 19.78 lakh are only old-age pensioners.

All categories of pensioners now get a monthly pension of Rs 1,500 and Rs 4,800 crore is spent each year on providing financial assistance to these socially disadvantaged sections.

The fact came to light now wherein two officers posted as Deputy Commissioners in different districts reportedly pointed out to Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema that many accounts in a state cooperative bank, where old-age pensions were being deposited, had been inactive for several months. These officers sought his help to verify the accounts.

As a result of this warning, the AAP government has decided to launch a verification drive of all social security pension accounts immediately. Officials in the Social Security Department have told The Tribune that recoveries of pension deposited into the accounts of those who died but continued to receive pension would also be initiated.

“We are trying to have an integrated platform of the Health Department and Social Welfare Department wherein all deaths registered in the state will be e-linked to pension disbursal. This will ensure that the Social Welfare Department is e-warned about any death and pension disbursal will stop. A physical verification of all existing pensioners will also be carried out by anganwari workers. Every three months, the old-age pensioners will also have to give a life certificate to the bank where they get the pension,” Additional Chief Secretary, Social Welfare, Seema Jain told The Tribune.

  • 29.29 lakh social security pensioners
  • 19.78 lakh old-age pensioners
  • 5.46 lakh widows, their dependents
  • 2.28 physically challenged
  • 1.79 lakh destitute children
  • Rs 400 crore monthly outgo for pensions
  • Rs 290 crore towards old-age pension

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