Eighty five persons in Anakuzhikkara village in Peruvayal grama panchayat do not get the pension benefits of the government they are eligible for, a campaign launched in the area has found.

They included 43 new applicants for agriculture and agricultural labourers’ pension scheme for which a person above 60 years with at least 10 cents of land in his or her name was eligible. A camp held on October 20, as part of the campaign, also enrolled 37 new persons for old-age pension, given to people above 65 years of age.

“We knew that a lot of others in the village were ignorant of the different pension schemes they were eligible,” said Ward Councillor P.K. Sharafudheen, under whom the campaign was launched. As per the campaign plan, volunteers made visits to each house of the village to spot the ones ignorant of the pension benefits. The result was an eye-opener, says the Councillor, who is a teacher. Though the government announced different welfare and pension schemes, a good share of it remained unused due to lack of awareness about the schemes.

Thanks to the campaign, nearly half of the 454 households in Anakuzhikkara will soon have at least one member of each family availing himself or herself of the government’s pension benefits.

Already, 112 persons here are getting benefits from the government under categories of widow pension, old-age pension, or pension for handicapped persons. This is besides the 31 persons, who are currently availing themselves of pension after retiring from different services of the government. Nearly Rs.2 crore a year was already being given to the households in the Peruvayal panchayat through the pension schemes of the government, Mr. Sharafudheen said.

The campaign had also taken note of those eligible in APL families having less than Rs.3 lakh annual income, the Councillor said. The number of persons, who would soon turn 60 or 65 and would become eligible for pension schemes, had also been identified. Instructions were given to them to obtain application forms from the panchayat and submit it to the authorities concerned to avail themselves of the pension benefits, he added.

“The campaign was aimed at making our village the first in the State with everyone above 60 years of age getting the benefits of the pension schemes,” Mr. Sharafudheen said.

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