Himansu Shekhar Rout

Politics warmed up over the hike of pension under social security schemes like Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) and National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) in Odisha.

A day after the state government announced to hike the pension amount from Rs 500 to Rs 1000 to beneficiaries, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) on Sunday dubbed it as BJD's lollipop to voters ahead of upcoming elections, and promised to pay Rs 3000 as a monthly pension if it is voted to power.

The Congress also termed it an election lollipop and said it is thinking of hiking pension amounts for the people if it forms government.

Launching an attack on the state government and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), BJP leader Lekhashree Samant Singhar said, “When the BJD sees elections round the corner, it always comes out with lollipops of different kinds to various sections of people. The BJD and its government always believe in false assurance. I can remind you of some schemes like PEETHA, KALIA and Biju Yuba Bahini which had been launched earlier.”  

“People suffer a lot for five years and stage agitations for their rights. Their agitations go futile. When just 15 days or one month is left for elections, the government makes such announcements. This has become the working style of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik," she added, 

She asserted that the BJP will only fulfill its promise on the matter of pension hike. “We have given promise to the people. Pension will be hiked to Rs 3000. We will also look at the issues of the various sections of people who have been neglected by the government,” the BJP leader added.

She further alleged that the government has no sincerity to serve people, but the pension will be hiked to Rs 3000 from Rs 500 per month to the beneficiaries after the BJP government comes to power.

Addressing a presser, OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak said, “If the Congress comes to power, it will ensure that people of various categories get hiked amounts. We are thinking of it. Everything can be done, if the government nurtures a strong willpower. This BJD government lacks the willpower to do beneficial for the people.”

He also claimed that in the last 24 years, nothing was done, but hiking Rs 500 in pension amounts will make no difference.

Beneficiaries unhappy over hike?

Kartik Rana, a beneficiary of the old age pension of ward-12 of Balasore municipality, said, ”A monthly Rs 1000 pension will be of no help to us at this time. At least Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 is necessary at a time when prices of essential commodities are sky high.”

Other beneficiaries like B Arnapurna and Mamata Tarli shared the same opinion about the hiked pension amount, asking Rs 1000 will not come in handy for them given the high prices of commodities.      

B Arnapurna, a visually challenged woman, argued, ”Other states are giving Rs 2500 to Rs 3000. Why are you giving me only Rs 1200.” Mamata fumed, “Elections are coming. This pension hike is a kind of bribe to take out votes.” 

Nine states pay more than Rs 2000

As per reports, Rs 1000 is less than the amounts paid by none other states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Arunanchal Pradesh and Tripura. In these states, beneficiaries are paid a monthly pension of more than Rs 2000. Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana are paying Rs 3000 while the pension amount is Rs 3500 in Puducherry. 

Also Read: Odisha govt announces Rs 500 hike in Madhu Babu Pension 

BJD leader Ashok Panda said, “All can see our budget allocation. Those raising the issue of pension hike should look at the budget of Andhra Pradesh. They should know Andhra’s fiscal management and how much salaries of the government employees have been pending.

 

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  • SOUMYA RANJAN SAHOO , BIBARTAN PANDA
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