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12 per cent persons in the welfare pension list ineligible

12 per cent persons in the welfare pension list ineligible

Thiruvananthapuram: Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found that 12 per cent of the total beneficiaries in the social security pension schemes in Kerala comprised ineligible persons.

In the performance audit report of the schemes tabled in the Assembly today, CAG said it can also be concluded that 15 per cent of eligible population may have been excluded from the various pension schemes.

Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (all under National Social Assistance Programme) and Pension for unmarried women and Agriculture Labour pension (state scheme) came under scrutiny of CAG.

A total of 27.64 lakh beneficiaries are in the schemes by end of the year 2014-15. The schemes are implemented through Gram panchayats and Municipalities.

"Performance audit disclosed that large number of marginal groups and vulnerable sections of the society in dire need of social security pensions continued to be excluded from the pension net and large number of ineligible beneficiaries were wrongfully included," the report said.

The process of income certification, verification and approval by the local bodies were not transparent and prone to weaknesses, aiding wrongful inclusion of ineligible persons thereby undermining the schemes efficiency and effectiveness.

The report also said the pension schemes were not serving as income support schemes to beneficiaries for monthly sustenance as they were being disbursed by local bodies in three or four irregular instalments annually.

The mechanism of the state government of releasing lump sum amounts to local bodies at irregular intervals was defeating the very purpose of assistance, it said.

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