Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin has suggested systemic improvements in processing of applications, grant of sanction and disbursement of old age pension.
This is in view of complaints of arbitrary selection and deletion of beneficiaries by the municipal councillors.
He said there was an urgent need for implementation of reforms in the pension sector for the welfare of the downtrodden and deserving.
Justice Sarin said: “The responsibility of the municipal councillor should be clearly spelt out that he/she has to prima facie satisfy onself that the applicant being recommended for grant of pension is a deserving one and not gainfully employed.”
Moreover, he said, the councillor should ensure that the beneficiary does not have a family income of more than Rs. 48,000 per annum.
The Lokayukta said the applicant’s affidavit should clearly disclose the names of family members, their current vocation and incomes.
Justice Sarin said the application form has a column for certification by the scrutinising officer that the details furnished have been found, after inquiry, to be true. The grant of pension is to be continued only then. “In each of the cases, there should be a brief description of the field inquiry made and the date thereof, rather than a ritualistic certification,” he said.
On the issue of verification of the applications for grant of pension, the Lokayukta said it should be one of the factors for judging the performance of the scrutinising officer. This would reflect the officer’s propensity for hard work, integrity and probity with which he/she performs duties.
He also suggested that the Deputy Commissioner, who is the sanctioning authority, should do a random and sample check of the application forms for pension. The Commissioner can ensure that the investigating/scrutinising officers duly discharge their functions.
In his order, the Lokayukta had noted that as there are 272 wards in Delhi and on average about 650 pensioners per ward who get Rs. 1,000 per month. This works out to an annual payment of about Rs. 210 crore.
In one of the complaints, Najafgarh councillor Seema Pandit had been accused of approving the names of 55 beneficiaries for pension without adherence to due process. The Lokayukta had, after probing the matter, recommended to the Lieutenant Governor that a “caution” be administered to her and her husband, former councillor Vijay Pandit, for their conduct.
In another other complaint, a resident, Usha Sharma, had claimed that she was 70 per cent disabled and had been along with her aged parents receiving pension for the past 10 years. It was suddenly stopped by municipal councillor Parmila Tokas. However, in this case, the Lokayukta found that the complainant was gainfully employed with a security agency at the salary of Rs. 5,500 per month and was not eligible for pension.
Allegations of arbitrary selection and deletion of pension schemes’ beneficiaries by municipal councillors Lokayukta suggests improvements in processing of applications, granting sanction and disbursement of pension
Allegations of arbitrary selection and deletion of pension schemes’ beneficiaries by municipal councillors
Lokayukta suggests improvements in processing of applications, granting sanction and disbursement of pension