Special Correspondent

1.84 lakh of them to get the benefits in two instalments

Each will get between Rs.5,000 and Rs.25,000

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nearly 1,84,000 aged farm workers would soon receive the retirement benefits due to them from the Kerala State Farm Workers’ Welfare Fund in two instalments, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said here on Monday.

Addressing a press conference, Dr. Isaac said each person would receive between Rs.5,000 and Rs.25,000.

Retirement benefits have not been paid to aged farm workers since 2001, the Minister added.

Payment to board

He said the government would pay the welfare fund board Rs.114 crore to disburse these benefits.

These benefits had fallen due for want of sufficient income for the board.

He said the law relating to the constitution of the fund would be amended to mandate a monthly contribution to the fund from the government, equivalent to the contribution of the members of the farm workers’ welfare scheme. The resource allocation now being made was a one-time measure to clear the backlog in the payment of benefits.

Enhanced pension

He said monthly pension to the farm workers had been enhanced from Rs.120 to Rs.250 after the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government assumed charge. All welfare pensions had been increased to Rs.250.

The LDF government had also cleared the pension arrears of 27 months and now the pensions were being paid without break every month. The LDF government had so far disbursed Rs.390.38 crore as farm workers’ pension after it had come to power, Dr. Isaac said.