Samajwadi Pension Scheme – A Promise That Remains Unfulfilled in Banda

tindvariIn his visit to Banda district on March 12, Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav claimed that over 45 lakh families in UP would benefit from the first phase of the Samajwadi Pension Scheme. However, thousands of people who have filed applications in the district are still waiting to claim the promised benefits.

When CM Akhilesh Yadav presented the budget for 2015-16 in the state assembly, he announced that Rs. 2,727 crores would be allocated towards the Samajwadi Pension Scheme. Launched in 2014, this is meant to be the biggest state sponsored scheme in the country. Yet, in Banda, confusion prevails over the status of people’s applications. Govindi, Purkhin and Ramkali are among those who have approached the pradhan Siyadulari with their complaint. The pradhan directed them to Allahabad Bank in Badausa. The Bank Manager S.P. Singh informed the women that their names were not listed among those eligible for the scheme. The women fail to understand how propertied men in their own village are eligible and have started accessing the pension. According to the Manager, the money is yet to come into some people’s accounts.

The Samajwadi Pension Scheme is expected to benefit rural families living below the poverty line. Several poor and elderly people claim that those who own motorized vehicles and are landed are actually the ones benefitting from the scheme. In Tindwari block, Kallu and Santosh submitted a complaint to the Chairman on 9th March. Their complaint is not very different from that of the women. In their village, only those with land and four-wheeled vehicles are being able to access the scheme. According to the Chairman Brijesh Patel, there were 11,000 applicants in the block, but only 800 were eligible.

As the UP government completes three years in office, people in Banda can only hope that the promises made will be fulfilled before the government completes its term.