Rs 4,438 crore released for pensioners in one go

K.T. Rama Rao took up the issue with the CM recently and sought release of the funds.

Hyderabad: Emphasizing that it gives utmost priority to the social security pensions scheme ‘Aasara’ for senior citizens and widows, the TS government on Saturday released Rs 4,438 crore in one go to ensure that there would be no dearth of funds for the scheme throughout the year.

Earlier, the funds used to be released every quarter, but this resulted in delay in payment of pensions sometimes. The government has now decided to pay Aasara pensions in the first week of every month. Nearly 32 lakh beneficiaries receive Rs 1,000 every month, while physically-challenged are paid Rs 1,500 per month. However, the scheme has been imposing a huge burden on state exchequer as the government needs to allocate nearly Rs 370 crore every month.

There were delays in payment of pensions during some months earlier as the finance department could not allocate funds on time to meet other financial obligations like salaries for staff and other welfare schemes. This led to resentment among beneficiaries and the government had to face their wrath even after affecting the five-fold increase in pension amount due to delay in payments.

The Panchayat Raj and rural development departments, headed by K.T. Rama Rao, which is the implementing agency for Asara pensions took up the issue with the CM recently and sought release of the funds in a single go to check delays in future. Mr Rao instantly approved this and directed finance department to release the funds needed for the full year in a single go following which it issued orders on Saturday.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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