13 May, 2020
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the State government has provided special relief to 5.69 lakh social security pension beneficiaries by making an advance payment of Rs. 217.86 crore. This pension has been given for six months in advance to the beneficiaries of tribal areas and three months to the beneficiaries of non-tribal areas. It was a big challenge to distribute the pension to the beneficiaries particularly in the remote areas due to the lockdown. But it was performed effectively by the coordinated efforts of Social Justice and Empowerment Department and Indian Postal Service Department.
It was a cheerful moment for 90-year-old Shankaru Devi of Guhan village of Jaisinghpur area of ?? district Kangra, when the postman reached her home during curfew with a pension of Rs. 4500 for three months that too in advance. Social security pension is only financial support as Shankaru Devi is alone at home in this old age. She manages her medicines and food with this pension. This is not only the case of Shankaru Devi, at present there are about 3.85 lakh old persons in the state, who have been provided pension facility of about Rs. 154.24 crore. In addition, about 1.20 lakh widows have also been provided social security pension of Rs. 40.21 crore, while 63,495 Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) have been issued social security pension of Rs. 23 crore.
Providing door-to-door pension to the beneficiaries to remote areas of the state during the curfew due to COVID-19 was indeed a daunting task which has been carried out efficiently by the postal department personnel. Postmen working in rural areas deserve appreciation for this noble work. At present, there are 4 lakh 75 thousand 290 savings accounts in post offices of social security pension beneficiaries and 93,768 beneficiaries have accounts in banks in the state.
In the tribal areas of Pangi, Bharmour, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts of the state, 14,379 social security pension beneficiaries have been provided the next six months pension, on which about Rs. 10 crore 39 lakh has been spent. In this time of crisis, with timely and in advance distribution of pension, all needy people across the state are now living their life with pride and also are grateful to the state government for this noble gesture.
During the lockdown, the state government not only ensured the timely disbursement of social security pension but also approved 43026 new cases of pension. Not only this, social security pension of widows and PwDs has been increased from Rs. 850 per month to Rs. 1000 from April 1, 2020.
In addition, in view of COVID-19, total 1,11,863 National Social Security beneficiaries of the state have been provided Rs. 500 per beneficiary under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana by the Center Government. For this, Rs. 5 crore 59 lakh 33 thousand has been sanctioned to the state. Additional Rs. 500 per beneficiary will be released to these beneficiaries soon. In real sense, the state government has provided a ray of hope for the needy people by providing relief at the right time in this prevailing crisis.