Bihar CM OKs Rs 400 monthly old age pension across board | Patna News


PATNA: In what could turn out to be a game changer ahead of the parliamentary elections, CM Nitish Kumar on Wednesday announced Rs400 monthly pension to all above 60 years of age in the state. The scheme, named Mukhya Mantri Vriddha Pension Yojana (MMVPY), is for all irrespective of caste, community or religion, but the government employees and officials would not be eligible for its benefit.

Giving the government’s reply to the House debate in the state assembly on the governor’s address to the joint session of the state legislature on the opening day of the budget session, the CM said the MMVPY would come into force from April 1 this year. The government would start the process in March to identify all the old age people eligible for the universal pension scheme.

The entire process involved includes survey of the old age persons of 60 and more years, identification of beneficiaries, verification of their Aadhaar numbers and other details, as well as opening of their bank accounts. “The process of identification and verification of details would be completed by the end of July this year itself. The scheme would be ready for implementation from August, but would be in force from April 1,” Nitish explained, adding that the amount concerned would be transferred into their bank accounts through the direct benefit transfer method.

The CM said the old age pension existed for persons belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category only. “It has been observed that there have been cases where persons of above poverty line category have enrolled themselves in the BPL category, while those in the BPL category have been left out. In the situation, the universal old age pension has been introduced to cover all old age persons,” Nitish said.

However, in sync with the opposition perception of the scheme, RJD chief whip in the state assembly, Bhai Birendra, called it an election stunt. “This is pre-election announcement aimed at influencing people in favour of the NDA. Practically, there is nothing to it. We apprehend that the scheme, in the final count, might not even be implemented,” he said.

Besides, the universal old age pension, the CM also announced a pension of Rs6,000 per month for journalists above 60 years of age under Bihar Patrakar Samman Yojana (BPSY). The journalist concerned should have been in service for 20 years and not availing of any other pension.

In another announcement, the CM said his government was not well disposed towards the 13-point roster system introduced for filling vacant posts in the departments of colleges and universities after taking the department as the unit compared to the previous practice of 200-point method and taking university as a unit.

“At present, the order regarding the 13-point roster has to be accepted as it is the court order. However, the Bihar Public Service Commission would abide by our government’s reservation norms in all other appointments. There is no confusion on that,” the CM explained.

He requested Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary to fix a date in the current budget session to adopt a unanimous House resolution expressing its reservation about the 13-point roster system that has done away with the quota system in the appointments to be made in the departments of universities and colleges. The CM said the House should also adopt a unanimous resolution favouring the holding of caste-based Census in 2021.

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