No Country For Old People| Fixing India’s pension Problems #fixingIndia
Pain. Today, if Amitabh Bacchan wasn’t a Superstar, he would have been a normal old person. Amitabh, who is above 60 years old, is an inspiration of many. Did you know that he refused to take his pension? Yes. Uttar Pradesh Govt. has offered this pension to him and his family under the Yash Bharti Samman. But Amitabh returned the pension, asking it to be given to charity. But there are thousands of elders out there, who are entitled for pension schemes, but fail to receive it. “S/he is in pain. A lot of festivals have come and gone, Diwali, Dushehra have gone, but s/he did not get the pension till date.” To make sure pension reaches it’s rightful owners, our heroes are working hard in Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir and Maharashtra. Because reporting about the problem is not enough, one needs to solve it too. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension scheme was launched in 1994 by the Indian Government. The aim of this scheme was to provide financial support to people who are either 60 years old or above. The pension money is different in different states. Along with national schemes, state government has their own pension scheme to help the poor. But, due to complicated governmental machinery and difficult process, the pension doesn’t reach the poor elder people. And they might not be able to survive without this pension money. “I had given application, but nothing is happening” Digital India program was launched recently by the GOI to help people fill up forms and complaints online. Through this online form application, our community correspondent, Mahesh, helped 20 people get their pension. Mahesh kept going to the block office for two years, but all in vain. And then he decided with his community that they will fill online forms, along with the written application for pension. “In the meeting, we decided that we will go to the nearest internet cafe and fill the forms online.” Online forms were filled in nearly village called Bhattpurva. An application was also submitted in the block office. Shortly after this, those who have applied online, they got their pensions. “We received our pension, after the video was made” Mugli Begum from Kashmir has been waiting for for 4 years for her pension. “She has been going to Social Welfare office for 5-6 years” When Rafiqa spoke to the district welfare officer, she got no response. “I went to the social welfare office regarding Mugli Begum’s issues, but they refused to talk to me in presence of the camera.” Rafiqa then took the matter to District Commissioner, and after his orders, Mugli Begum’s pension was released. “I met the DC sir, and explained the issue to him. After his intervention, now she has started getting her pension, which will help her.” Its not uncommon that people wait for years for their pension, but they are also forced to visit the offices multiple times. Gangu bai of Maharashtra’s Hingloi district, along with 25 others from her community have waited years for their pension, but nobody paid heed to them. “We don’t get pension” “It’s been years” When Radhika got to know about their problems, she made a video on it and showed it to the officers. Promises were made, but nothing concrete was done. Radhika approached the Village head with the issue. The village head verified all the necessary documents and , and screened the video made by Radhika to the District officer. After this, Gangu bai and others got their pension. “The village head helped us in getting our pension.” “Radhika helped me in helping these people.” “She and I, together, were able to bring this change” “How are you feeling now, after getting your pension?” “I am very happy” “My community supported me in bringing this impact” “I made a video on her problems” “25 elders started getting their pensions” “I am Rafiqa, from Budgam district, Kashmir.” “I am Radhika, from Hingoli district, Maharashtra.” “I am Mahesh, from Kaushambi district, Uttar Pradesh, for India Unheard.” Just like Mahesh, Rafiqa and Radhika, our 200 community correspondents working across India, are working on the old age pension issues, and with the help from Government officers are solving it. Because, we don’t just report problems like mainstream media, we believe in Fixing it. In next episode, we will introduce more heroes, who are Fixing India, one video at a time.