5.8 cr Indians get no pension
Country far behind less developed countries in providing social security to elderly population
New Delhi: India, the Asian tiger, is far behind compared to less developed countries like Nepal, Bolivia, Botswana and other poor economies when it comes to providing social security to the elderly population. While Nepal spends 0.7% of their GDP on the security of elderly people, Bolivia 1.3% of GDP, Lesotho 1.3%, spends a meagre 0.04% of total GDP, as per a report prepared by HelpAge India, a non-government organisation.
India’s GDP is at the very least 10 times that of countries like Bolivia, Lesotho, Nepal and Ecuador, but the pension does not match up.
The report said in India, the proportion of capital outlay to the country’s GDP has remained unchanged for over a decade. “We have transitioned from being a lower income country to a lower middle-income country. We threaten to take over the GDP of some of the superpowers and yet remain powerless when it comes to adequate provisioning for social security,”
the report, released on Senior Citizens’ Day, stated.
The report, further citing National Social Assistance Programme, claimed in India, of the 80 million elderly entitled to a pension of Rs 200 per month, this meagre
amount, by the Central government, reaches just 22.3 million people leaving out nearly 58 million people. It further states 93% of the workforce comes under unorganised sector employees and they have contributed a
large part of GDP but the majority of them are not covered under any pension schemes.
The Central entitlement of Rs 200 and Rs 500 per month per person for those between 60 years and 79 years and for those above 80 years respectively, declared in 2007 has reduced in purchasing power value to a meagre Rs 93. Speaking about this in the report, Economist Prabhat Patnaik says, “this is truly a scandalous state of affairs not just because the sum is laughable paltry, the beneficiary list absurdly truncated and even elementary protection against inflation missing.”
It is pointed out that if the scenario in 2018 is so bad what will happen when the country will have 173 million people above 60 years in 2026.
The report also highlights how lakhs of elderly people name have been removed from the pensioner list. The report said in Bihar, 10 lakh beneficiaries were dropped from pension list without citing any reason.
Further, digitisation and requirements of Aadhaar seeding have led to exclusion. “Enforced disbursal through banking had only added to people’s woes first at the level of opening bank accounts and then for accessing pension,” the report states.
PM Modi at a meet in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Saturday