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Kerala: Social welfare pensions suspended over 6 months; Govt faces Rs 5000 cr funding challenge

Social welfare pensions in Kerala, including those for old age, widows, and disability, have been suspended for six months due to financial constraints. The state government now faces a daunting task of finding Rs 5000 crore to resume these payments.

Kerala: Social welfare pensions suspended over 6 months; Govt faces Rs 5000 cr funding challenge anr
First Published Jul 1, 2024, 1:12 PM IST

Social welfare pensions and other government-aided welfare fund pensions in Kerala have been in arrears for several months, including pensions touted as government achievements, which have been suspended for a year. The state government faces a shortfall of over Rs 5000 crore for distributing social welfare pensions. 

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The left government in Kerala appears to have neglected the distribution of pensions, once touted as a source of pride. Pictures of elderly recipients happily collecting pensions are conspicuously absent. Over 1600 social welfare pensions have been suspended for six months, and none of the 16 government-aided welfare fund pensions are being disbursed correctly. Construction worker welfare fund pensions have not been received for a year, while pensions for categories like jewellers, cashew workers, small plantation workers, and tailors have been suspended for almost a year.

The Kerala government faces a monthly expenditure of Rs 900 crores for social welfare pensions and Rs 90 crores for various welfare fund pensions. For categories like old age, widow, and disability pensions, one-third of the funds come from the central government. The state collected Rs 740 crores through cess on liquor and fuel until November last year, intended for these purposes, but the opposition claims that beneficiaries are not receiving these funds. The 16 welfare fund pensions are funded through contributions from both employees and employers.

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