Old age pensions and ones for the physically handicapped have gradually reduced.
The statistics speak for themselves:
•72 lakh pensions at saturation level given during the regime of YSR, reduced to 18 lakhs during Chandra Babu Naidu's time.
•40 lakshs of old age pensions and 4 lakhs and 76 thousand pensions for physically disabled people cancelled.
•8 lakhs of applications received at Rachabanda rejected, 4 lakhs and 76 thousand applications approved, but did not reach the beneficiaries.
•3 lakhs and 45 thousand applications are pending.
The govt turns a deaf year to the appeals of many old and physically handicapped people for pension. The govt officials make the physically handicapped people go round and round for their pension and sometimes reject their applications, casting doubts on their eligibility.
At the time that YS Rajasekhar Reddy came to power, the number of people receiving social pension were only 18 lakhs. The pensions were given once in two or three months during 'Janma Bhoomi' programme . The amount of pension was only Rs 75 . New applicants were considered only in the vacancy created by the death of an old one.
YSR removed many hurdles being faced by old people. The number of old age pensions from 18 lakhs ,were increased to,71.90 lakhs. The amount of pension was increased from Rs 75 to 200 and for physically handicapped, from 200 to 500.
He saw to it that the pensioners receive their pension on the first of every month. For those women who crossed 60 years of age, he started the 'Abhaya Hastham' scheme. The intention was that old women should lead a life of dignity without depending on their children who many a times are indifferent to their needs. 43 lakhs of women joined this scheme in the very first year. 3.40 lakhs of women received Rs 500 in the very first year.
But many pensions were ruthlessly cancelled after the death of YSR. The welfare schemes introduced by YSR were being steadily undermined by Kiran Kumar Reddy.
About 4 lakshs of old age pensions and 1.5 physically handicapped pensions were cancelled. Just as Chandra Babu Naidu sanctioned pensions in the Janma Bhoomi programme, Kiran's govt started sanctioning pensions in the 'Rachabanda Programme' and similarly like him, only if there are vacancies due to those who died.
3.33 lakshs of old age pensions were sanctioned during the first Rachabanda programme . In the second Rachabanda Programme held in Nov. 2011 ,12.88 applications were received for old age pensions . But they were filtered at 6 stages, and 8 lakhs of pensions were cancelled. 4.76 pensioners were declared eligible, but none received pensions till now.
Old age pensions from the Centre do not always reach the beneficiaries:
The Central Govt reduced the eligibility age for old age pensions from 65 years to 60 due to which 4 lakhs of pensions were sanctioned to the state govt. The State Govt instead of sanctioning them to those who applied newly, attached it to the 'Abhayahastha Scheme', thereby lessening the financial burden on itself.
The Centre sanctions Rs 500 to the old - above the age of 80 - but the state govt gives only Rs 200. The rest goes in to the state coffers.