“These schemes must be implemented through a single window system and with transparency. Only then will there we get people friendly service”- Lakshmi, 41 years from Chennai, TN:
“I am associated with the VCAN state network and I also run a CBO for women in sex work. I live with my husband who has stopped working because he is 72 years old and my elderly mother who gets her husband’s pension of Rs. 1300.00 which is spent entirely on her medication. In recent days my husband has also not been well and since I need money to pay for his treatment I tried accessing the state government’s insurance schemes but with no success.
“Last year my husband tried to avail of Old Age Pension but was told by the officials concerned that the OAP application forms were not available, because the verification process of people who have already applied was going on and new entries will be enrolled only when the process was complete. So he is waiting for the next cycle to apply. Similarly, my mother is not able to apply for Old Age Pension because the officials want us to submit our ration card. How can we surrender our ration card when we are surviving with the provisions that we are getting through PDS? If we get this pension amount, it would help us to cover our medical expense.
“If the government would relax the documentary proof that is required for availing of pension schemes it would help people like us to get some money and reduce the burden on us to when there are unexpected needs like, sudden hospital expense. If we get a decent amount like Rs.2000 – 3000 as pension money, it would be helpful for us to lead the rest of our life without depending on our children or others.
“I am also trying to help the female sex worker community to access entitlements because most of the time the officials make them go from one office to another saying this application does not come under this jurisdiction or taluk.
“These schemes must be implemented through a single window system and with transparency. Only then will there we get people friendly service. It will also reduce the struggles that people go through to avail of schemes and services and strengthen their confidence in government schemes”.