Kerala CM promises timely clearance of welfare pension arrears for 62 lakh beneficiaries

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 10 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday announced that the arrears of welfare pensions of 62 lakh beneficiaries in the state would be distributed in a time-bound manner, and his government has plans to increase them further.

Despite the financial crunch being faced by the state due to the policies and approach of the Centre, the state government would not backtrack from its development programmes and welfare schemes, he said.

The CM told the state Assembly that each beneficiary receives Rs 1,600 per month as social welfare pension in Kerala, and its five instalments are due at present.

Of this, two instalments would be distributed in the 2024-25 financial year and the rest in 2025-26, Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister made a statement in this regard in the Assembly as part of Rule 300.

Claiming that the arrears were not caused by the policies of the Left government, he said they have been distributing payments without fail since March this year.

"The state government is committed to completely distribute the arrears of the social welfare pensions. At present, the overall arrears amount is Rs 4,250 crore. Of this, Rs 1,700 crore will be disbursed in the present financial year," Vijayan said.

He said his government has an obligation to ensure that welfare benefits are properly distributed among deserved people and so they would implement the arrears disbursal as a time-bound initiative.

During the UDF government's tenure, the total number of beneficiaries of social security pension stood at 34,43,414 and they were given a monthly amount of Rs 600, he said.

"Currently, 62 lakh people are being given social security pension in the state. The pension amount has been raised up to Rs 1,600 in a phased manner. The government aims to increase it further," the CM said.

The special statement also had sharp criticism of the Union government and its financial policies and approach towards the state.

After the present government came to power in 2021, the state has experienced an acute financial crunch due to discriminatory policies of the Centre and that is still going on, he alleged.

He also listed out various issues ranging from the slashing of the state's borrowing limit to the reduction of tax allocations as proof for the Centre's discriminatory attitude towards Kerala. PTI LGK SS