No New Asara for Differently-Abled in TS

HYDERABAD: Over five lakh differently-abled beneficiaries of the Aasara pensions are yet to receive hiked pensions, despite Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao announcing the enhancement with immediate effect last month.

Rao was addressing a public meeting in Mancherial on June 9, when he said that the differently-abled would get Rs 4,016, instead of Rs 3,016, per month with immediate effect. After the announcement, the differently-abled beneficiaries burst into celebrations across the state, performing ‘ksheerabhishekams (milk bath)’ to portraits of the Chief Minister.

But, beneficiaries have not received the additional Rs 1,000 this month.

The Chief Minister’s announcement has also led to arguments between officials and beneficiaries, who question why they were not being given the enhanced pensions as announced by Rao. Officials, meanwhile, are helpless, saying they did not receive an order or a GO in this regard.

Sources attributed the issues to a financial crunch being faced by the state government. The state government is already struggling to mobilise nearly Rs 1,000 crore per month for Aasara pensions to 44.82 lakh beneficiaries in 11 categories, which include old age, widows, differently-abled, weavers, toddy tappers, HIV patients, filaria patients, dialysis patients, beedi workers, single women and folk artistes.

While differently-abled and artistes get Rs 3,106 per month, all others get Rs 2,016 per month.

At present, there are a total of 5,16,890 differently-abled beneficiaries in the state, who are availing of Aasara pensions.

The state government spent Rs 10,310 crore on Aasara pensions for the physically challenged since 2014, of the total Rs 58,696 crore spent on Aasara pensions in all.

The state government paid Rs 2,106 Aasara pension per month to differently-abled from October 2014 to March 2019. It enhanced the pension to Rs 3,016 per month from April 2019, as promised in the BRS manifesto during the 2018 Assembly polls.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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