‘Pension too measly, wait too long’

Widows speak of difficulties at recent Pension Parishad

February 15, 2014 02:44 am | Updated May 18, 2016 08:25 am IST - Mumbai

Manubai Nagtilak (left) and Kamlibai Phuphane atthe Pension Parishad held recently in Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Manubai Nagtilak (left) and Kamlibai Phuphane atthe Pension Parishad held recently in Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Draped in a tattered saree, Kamlibai Phuphane holds her worn-out pallu which is layered with a bed-sheet. The frail woman who is in her 60s, is a mother of six, and was widowed at a very young age.

Hailing from the tribal belt of Jawhar, she is no stranger to deaths by malnutrition. She has herself often had to go without food for days. For the last six years, she has been struggling to get money under the Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme.

In 2007, when she applied for it, the government rejected it and handed her a list of documents she needed to procure. It took her three years to get them in place.

Then, her application kept lying with the talathi for three years, till it was finally approved last year. Even now, the glitches have not ended. "Each time I have to check if the money has been deposited in my account, I walk 19 kilometers, skip my meals, only to be told to come back again," she says.

Appeal for hike

At times, she gets Rs 600 every three months, at times, Rs 400 a month. According to the scheme, every beneficiary should get Rs 600 per month. Kamlibai was among the 1000 people from the unorganised sector who attended a public hearing organised by the Pension Parishad in the city early this week demanding universal old age pension and a three-fold hike from Rs 600 to Rs 2000.

The Parishad has pleaded that the government to do away with the tedious paperwork and roll out the pension to all the senior citizens in the state.

There are 1.1 crore people above 60 years in Maharashtra. At present, only 25 lakh of them get covered under various schemes, though, according to the government's own statistics, more than 60 lakh are economically dependent.

Health woes

Manubai Nagtilak, who is in her 70s, qualifies to be a part of the 25 lakh who are presently covered by the government. But, she has been waiting for the last four years for the government to approve her application. Like Kamlibai, even she was widowed at a very young age, and she migrated from a remote place in Barshi in Solapur district to Pune in 1972 along with her three children, in search of work.

While Kamlibai sustained herself and her children by being a farm labourer all her life, Manubai was a rag-picker for more than 30 years. Now, aching joints and weak muscles don't allow her even simple movements.

With growing health woes, the women feel even the Rs 600 allotted by the government will not be sufficient.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.