The Hindu

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18 Jan 14

‘Govt. duty-bound to raise old-age pension’

Staff Reporter, New Delhi

Nearly 200 elderly people from marginalised communities from 18 States, including Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, participated in a Jan Sunwai (public hearing) organised by the Pension Parishad here on Friday.

The jury included Lise Grande, U.N. Resident Coordinator; Prabhat Patnaik, Member-Secretary, National Legal Services Authority; Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner, and Aruna Roy, social activist.

The social activists said the government was duty-bound to implement the recommendations of the Mihir Shah Task Force Committee on Comprehensive National Social Assistance Programme (Pension).

The recommendations included an increase in Central assistance under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme with effect from the financial year 2013-14 and revision of eligibility norms for the Widow Pension Scheme by reducing the minimum age from 40 to 18.

Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission, said the Task Force Committee made basic and minimal recommendations, keeping in view the support for these changes from the Cabinet as a whole.

Ms. Aruna Roy said: “Despite having reservations about some of the recommendations of the Task Force Committee, we feel that this is the very least that the government can do considering the fact that the recommendations emerged from a government constituted committee.”

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