Pensioners’ ordeal

Excelsior Rakesh

There are around one crore pensioners in India, almost fifty lakh Central Government employees and fifty lakh of different States/UTs. Pension is the only way of survival for some and with old age related problems even a meager pension, in fact is a big financial support for the whole family. It becomes even more important for the lone survivor to make his/her both ends meet in today’s complicated life. Getting pension for first time itself is a tough job as lots of clearances and paper work is involved and to get all the service records up to date in terrorist affected UT like ours is a herculean task. Things become more cumbersome as every year you have to provide annual life certificate and old persons with multiple medical problems really find it difficult to cope up with prerequisites required to get uninterrupted pension. There are many pension holders who have moved out of their home States/UTs along with their families and to come every year for verification is not easy for them. Same is the case of pensioners who have moved out of the country. Present GoI is considerate about all these issues and worked on it and after serious deliberations came out with the idea of Jeewan Pramaan, a digital life certificate using Aadhar based authentication and it is really a blessing in disguise for the pensioners. This Jeewan Parmaan has definitely streamlined the process of getting certificate, no more are pensioners required to visit different offices and going personally to these offices are thing of past in this Digital India age, factually it cuts the cost of unnecessary logistics also. Even in a case of NRI pension holder no need to visit embassy to get life certificate. Post Article 370 when lots of things have drastically changed and as such improved the ease of life of UT people but pensioners have got a bolt from blue after the latest order. On one hand Administration is implementing e-Governance, every week scores of services getting online to cut time delays, making visits to different offices a thing of past, but this order of pension is baffling. As admitted by Director Social Welfare that this re-verification has not been done in last few years, but whose fault is this? This is not first time that such orders are being imposed on public, as in peak COVID19 public was made to stand in long queues to get high security registration number plates. That was the case of healthy people but this odd order is concerning old people some of whom are bed ridden and impossible for them to be physically present for verification. Now why this Jeewan Parmaan initiative of GoI is not being used in this case from home only. Why old persons are made to stand in this bone chilling cold which is below freezing point at some places. It is not difficult for Government to even get door to door verifications done to mitigate sufferings of these old people. There are other ways also like COVID vaccination certificates or ration dealers’ POS biometric machines can also be used for the time being as they are also linked with the Aadhar. Even banks do home verification for persons. Practically there are number of ways which can ease the present crisis like situation for old people. Letting old pensioners suffer in this old age is not a good idea and doesn’t go well as administration has already removed hundreds of such hurdles in recent past. Where there is a will there is a way and Administration will definitely find a way out of this crisis immediately.