Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC), India, on the basis of a media report has observed that it appears the funds had become a bone of contention between the Centre and Government of Jharkhand for a considerable period resulting in denial or delayed payment of financial assistance under various schemes, including the old age pension and COVID relief payments under the Pradhan Mantri Gharib Kalyan Yojana ( PMGKY) in the State.

Since July, 2020, i.e. in the middle of pandemic, which disrupted the livelihood of lakhs of people across the country, the Government of Jharkhand has reportedly stopped distribution of pensions to nearly 10 lakh eligible widows, senior citizens, and the speciallyabled citizen across the State.  

Taking suo motu cognisance of the media report, the Commission has further observed that the contents of it, if true, raise a serious issue of human rights violation. Issuing notices to the Government of Jharkhand through its Chief Secretary and Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment through its Secretary, the Commission has expressed concern how the money received from the Centre under one head was reportedly utilised under another head resulting thereby in denial of basic need for survival of the poor people. It has also expressed concern over a reported huge gap between the beneficiaries on the roll and those actually getting the pension under various categories. They have been given six weeks to submit a detailed report in the matter, according to an NHRC release.

The media report highlighted the case study of a sixty two year old small farmer, with a meager income, who had to borrow more than Rs 10,000 from the relatives to pay his hospital bills when his leg was fractured in Ukamar village in Latehar district in July, 2020. But for five months after his fracture, he did not receive any pension money of Rs 1,000 per month, as per his entitlement under a Central Government Scheme for senior citizens.

The media report, carried on March 2, 2021, claimed that this is not just one case of non-payment of financial assistance to the needy as per the Government scheme. Reportedly, the direct transfer of Rs 1,000 in two installments to the three crore senior citizens, widows, and people with disability in the country, had to be paid in addition to their regular pension. But, as reportedly claimed by an official, due to non-receipt of this budgetary allocation for the COVID 19 scheme from the centre until the end of the year, the State Government was forced to use its existing pension funds for the COVID relief payments. There is a huge gap of about 64% between the beneficiaries on the rolls and the ones who are actually getting the pension under different categories.