Hectic arrangements are being made by the Panchayat Raj and Rural Development department to launch distribution of 10 lakh new old age pensions from August 15, as decided by the Cabinet on Thursday.
The new pensions include pending applications of people who crossed 65 years of age, which was the benchmark prior to 2018, and all those who had applied following reduction in age for eligibility to 57-plus post 2018, according to Principal Secretary of PR & RD Sandeep Kumar Sultania.
The reduction in age was the election promise of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in 2018. After the TRS was voted to power, thousands of poor people who had crossed 57 years had applied online for pensions. By a rough estimate, the number of their applications itself was well above 10 lakh. But, the government had not issued any guidelines on addressing applications of 57-plus category.
This had resulted in confusion whether only pending applications of both 65-plus and 57-plus or only 57-plus would be considered. However, Mr. Sultania clarified that the new applications were a combination of both.
Though the government had not made public the number of pending applications so far, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had recently said that they could be about 10 lakh.
Post-2018, the government had received new applications till last year. The window for applications was only three months last year. A number of people above 65 who did not apply were anxiously looking for reopening of applications. They are now a worried lot that they might be left out.
About 2.60 lakh pensions were cancelled due to death of beneficiaries or technical reasons in the last four years.