Monday 19 November 2018

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Economy | Finance

Parrikar launches Freedom from Hunger scheme

 

Goa government has launched an unique pension scheme - freedom from hunger - for old people in financial distress having no income of their own, in partnership with the Life Insurance Corporation.

Describing it as a novel scheme at government level, the LIC officials have plans to extend it to the whole country once it succeeds in Goa.

Announcing the scheme as an Independence Day gift, chief minister Manohar Parrikar plans to start disbursing Rs 500 towards monthly pension from 1 January, after beginning the registration process from 2 October - the Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti.

"No matter whether his or her children earn or not, the old people will start getting this pension at their old age, as they should not be considered a liability by their earning children", states Parrikar.

The scheme will be extended later to surviving husband or wife and then even their minor children if both of them die. The only condition is that the person should be working in Goa for minimum 15 years and not covered under any other government pension scheme.

By fixing a proper income criteria, the state plans to initially begin with needy people like traditional toddy tappers, coconut pluckers, fishermen, agricultural labour, coolies, taxi or rikshaw drivers and even the motorcycle pilots.

After covering around 20,000 persons during the current financial year, the scheme will then also cover those who become disabled due to injury or illness before reaching the age bar of 60 years.

Keeping the inflation rate in mind, Parrikar has even made a provision of five per cent annual rise in the pension while the whole scheme will also be reviewed after every 10 years to fix a new minimum level of pension amount.

"We are delighted to extend our full co-operation to such a novel government scheme, which covers jut not individuals but the needy mass as a whole", states D N Mishra, executive director of the LIC.

Having roped in the LIC as the partner in the scheme, they will create a corpus of Rs 100 crore over a period of four to five years. The state however expects not to have burden of more than Rs 12 to 15 crore annually.

Treating this as an umbrella scheme for everyone who is in need, Parrikar plans to link to it even the central government schemes for needy persons.

Interestingly, the old pensioners will not be banned from carrying out a small business activity while availing benefits of this scheme. "It is a substitute for the regular income which they are deprived of", Parrikar clarifies.






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