Odisha govt distributing pension on party basis: BJP

Bhubaneswar: Following the direction of the Odisha government to complete the digitisation of Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) beneficiaries on a war-footing, the BJP today alleged that the beneficiaries of different schemes in the State are being selected on party lines.

“It may be the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana or the old age pension scheme, people are getting the benefits on party basis. People at 42-43 years are also getting pension,” alleged Odisha BJP general secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan.

He further said that if the State government doesn’t take immediate steps to fix the issue, BJP will launch protest against the government for ‘looting the State exchequer’.

Former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief, Jayadev Jena said, “Those who are not eligible but getting pension, will be exposed. The ruling-BJD is doing the Aadhaar linking only to get votes.”

Condemning the allegations brought by the BJP and the Congress, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said the allegations are baseless as the position of Odisha is better than several other states as far as digitisation is concerned.

Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, secretary of the Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability, has recently written a letter to the district collectors to complete digitisation process for the MBPY within 10 days.

Earlier in February 2019, the collectors were also directed to complete the digitisation of beneficiaries’ data and seeding of Aadhaar numbers under the MBPY scheme within a month. They were also directed to report the progress to the concerned department on daily basis. However, several districts like Boudh and Keonjhar have so far achieved only 3.33 per cent and 5.17 per cent digitisation, respectively.

Now, as per the direction of Sarma, collectors will have to ensure 100 per cent digitisation, seeding of Aadhaar and verification of the pensioners’ database in NSAP portal by October 15, 2019.

Following the instructions of the State government, OTV carried out a reality check in Keonjhar district and found some actual beneficiaries being left out of the scheme. One Turi Munda from Telkoi is unable to get pension due to error in his date of birth on Aadhaar card.

While Munda’s age is 75 years, it has been wrongly mentioned in the Aadhaar card as 39. The age of his wife, Bel Munda, who is also not getting pension, has also been wrongly printed as 73 instead of 65 years.

It is pertinent to mention here that of the total 27,18,019 persons getting pension under the MBPY scheme, Aadhaar verification of only 14,33,758 has been done so far. Similarly, only 4.20 lakh bank accounts of pensioners’ have been linked to Aadhaar.