Wednesday, February 21, 2024

‘YSR Pension Kanuka’, a game-changing initiative

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Pensions hand-delivered to 66.66 L beneficiaries at their doorsteps by volunteers on 1st of every month

C Pradeep Kumar
Vijayawada

In a remarkable initiative, the YSRCP government, led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, has been executing the ‘YSR Pension Kanuka’ flagship programme, ensuring financial assistance to 66.66 lakh beneficiaries across the State. The pensions are being hand-delivered to beneficiaries at their doorsteps, affirming the government’s commitment to their welfare. The government’s monthly expenditure for this initiative stands at Rs 1754 crore, with an annual allocation of Rs 21,048 crore, totalling Rs 66,823 crore to date.

Upon assuming office in 2019, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy promptly signed the ‘YSR Pension Kanuka’ flagship programme into action. Under his leadership, the pension amount increased from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 per month in March 2019. In subsequent years, this assistance grew to Rs 2,250 from June 2019 to December 2021, Rs 2,500 from January 2022 to December 2022, and finally, to Rs 2750 from January 2023. The programme is set to further elevate the pension to Rs 3,000 starting January 2024.

Contrasting with the previous TDP government’s allocation of just Rs 27.68 crore over five years for 40 lakh beneficiaries, the YSRCP government’s approach has been a game-changer. The previous system forced beneficiaries into long queues, where they had to await disbursement from Janmabhoomi Committee members, often spanning several days.

Under Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s administration, the pension not only saw a substantial increase but also expanded eligibility by lowering the age requirement from 65 to 60 years, benefiting lakhs of individuals. This expanded assistance now covers Old Age Pension (OAP), Widows, Weavers, Stonecutters, Fishermen, Single Women, Traditional Cobblers, PLHIV (ART), disability pension, and dialysis pension.

The success of this initiative heavily relies on the diligent efforts of village/ward volunteers and secretariat staff. A total of 2.66 lakh volunteers and 15,003 village and ward secretariat staff play a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless distribution of pensions.

On the first day of each month, they visit beneficiaries’ doorsteps and deliver the pension amounts, extending warm greetings with a ‘Good Morning’ to recipients across the State.

This doorstep distribution is facilitated through advanced authentication methods such as Pensioner Biometric Authentication, RIS Authentication, Aadhaar-Based Facial Authentication, and Real-Time Identification of Beneficiary System (RBIS) – Pensioner Facial Authentication. In addition to the volunteers, 15,000 Welfare Education Assistants/Ward Welfare Development Secretaries participate in this effort. District Call Centres have been established in the DRDA Office to closely monitor the disbursement process.

G Priyadarshani, a widow and pension recipient, expressed her gratitude for the convenience of receiving her pension at home, saving her from long, arduous waits. She thanked the government for this thoughtful provision, which alleviated the struggles she previously faced.

Voicing a similar sense of gratitude, M Jeevan Rao, a senior citizen receiving an old-age pension, expressed his joy at the monthly doorstep delivery, where volunteers extend warm greetings and provide vital financial support. He lauded Chief Minister Jagan for this invaluable service, especially for seniors who find it challenging to endure long queues.

Special Chief Secretary Ajay Jain underscored the critical role of volunteers in implementing government schemes and identifying eligible beneficiaries, ensuring that these schemes reach their intended recipients at their doorsteps. Acknowledging the challenges faced by elderly beneficiaries, he commended the volunteers for their role in disbursing old-age pensions efficiently.

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