An appeal to raise the quantum of monthly pension and family pension to a minimum of Rs.3,500 in Tamil Nadu has been made to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi by the All Bharat Confederation of Senior Citizens and Pensioners, an umbrella organisation representing retired employees of government, state undertakings, local bodies and teachers.
In a press release, the State President, A. Saminathan said the Tamil Nadu Government under Mr. Karunanidhi had accorded parity with the Centre on previous occasions, in sanctioning minimum pension. This was the case when the minimum Central pension stood at Rs. 375 and Rs. 1275. However, at present, the parity was lost, as the minimum pension stood at Rs. 3,050 in Tamil Nadu, depriving those at the very bottom of the welfare hierarchy of an acceptable basic quality of life. The problem was aggravated by severe inflationary trends for this group with inelastic income.
The Confederation also sought parity in the Fixed Medical Allowance with Central pensioners who were getting Rs. 300 per month with effect from September 1, 2008 to meet expenses that did not require hospitalisation. Tamil Nadu pensioners continued to get only Rs.100, it pointed out.
The case of super-senior citizens drawing pension should also be considered, the Confederation said, referring to the example of Andhra Pradesh, where pensioners attaining 75 years of age were granted an extra 15 per cent. The Centre was sanctioning proportionate additional pension for super seniors at the rate of 20 per cent for 80 years, 30 per cent for 85 years, 40 per cent for 90 years, 50 per cent for 95 years and cent per cent for those 100 years old. Pensioners and family pensioners were of the view that they should not be made to wait so long, till they were eligible for additional pension on the basis of such age criteria.