Aasara pension: Long pending dues, mass deletions, and an election trump card

Comparing the data from RTI responses in 2021 and 2022, the number of widows awaiting their pending Aasara pensions has increased by 93% in Telangana. In 2021, the number was 82,485 whereas, in February 2022, it has increased to 1,59,452.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  1 March 2022 10:46 AM GMT
Aasara pension: Long pending dues, mass deletions, and an election trump card

Hyderabad: Anjaiah, a farmer in Angadipeta Thanda village in Nalgonda, died by suicide due to the huge debt he owed. But once he died, this burden was transferred to his wife Korra Shanti. The 29-year-old young wife was left with two kids and a debt of Rs. 4 lakh. Neither did she receive the promised ex-gratia for the kin of farmers who died by suicide nor did she get any help under the Rythu Bhima scheme as the land was not in her husband's name. It was in her mother-in-law's name. She pleaded to her mother-in-law to change the land in her name but she didn't help. She applied for Aasara pensions for widows in 2019 but hasn't received the pension yet. With the little that she is earning as a daily labourer, she is struggling to meet her children's educational expenses and pay her husband's debts.

Vallamdas Rajini from Nalgonda district has been waiting for Aasara pensions for widows for the past four years. Her husband died in a road accident. Six months ago, she contracted heart disease. For her, this pension is very critical.

K. Renuka (40) from Naskal village in Jangam has visited the zonal/district offices for Aasara pensions around 10 times so far. Two years ago, her husband Raju, a tenant farmer, fell from the oddu (a sloping land beside a water body) and died. Life has become very difficult for her since then.

P. Ramanamma (37) from Gajji Nagar in Nalgonda lost her husband to COVID-19. She applied for Aasara pensions in 2021 but hasn't received any help from the government yet. She is finding it difficult to educate her children with the meagre income that she receives working as a daily labourer.

On 28 February, elderly people, widows, the differently-abled, and other eligible beneficiaries of Aasara pensions across Telangana gathered at Indira Park in Hyderabad for a public hearing on the issue of pending Aasara pensions. It was organised by the Aasara Pensions Sadhana Committee.

Comparing the data from RTI responses in 2021 and 2022, the number of widows awaiting their pending Aasara pensions has increased by 93% in Telangana. In 2021, the number was 82,485 whereas, in February 2022, it has increased to 1,59,452.




According to the data released by the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) in February 2022, a total of 3,15,262 pensions are pending in the state out of which 50% (1,59,452) are for widows.




District-wise, Hyderabad has the highest pending pensions for widows (13,272) followed by Rangareddy (10,911) and Nalgonda (10,490).

More women awaiting pensions

According to a survey conducted by the Aasara Pensions Sadhana Committee, among 900 people across Telangana, 61% who are awaiting pending pensions are women.

Forty-five per cent of women surveyed are widows, 39% are awaiting old-age pension, 6% are women with disabilities, 5% are single women, and 5% fall under other categories.




Mass deletions

According to data collected by SWAERO students, since its inception in November 2014, the names of 12,04,163 eligible pensioners have been deleted across the state. In 2021-22, 4,268 pensioners were sanctioned but 1,15,013 pensioners have been deleted.

Since 2014, more than one lakh pensioners have been deleted every year. The year 2015-16 saw the highest number of deletions – 2,82,421.

District-wise, since 2014, the highest number of deletions have been reported in Nizamabad (91,043) followed by Nalgonda (65,085) and Rangareddy (57,406).

Long wait continues

In a survey conducted by many citizens' collectives, it was found that in February 2022 among 900 people across Telangana a majority of the people are waiting for their due pensions for more than two years. Around 27% of the people have been awaiting pensions for the past three years, 25% of people for more than two years, and 35% of pensioners have been awaiting their dues for a year.




It is important to note that of the majority of the people awaiting pensions, 71% are daily wage labourers, 20% are dependent on agriculture, and 9% are engaged in other activities for their livelihood.

Elections and pensions

Another important finding from data collected by SWAERO students, is that over the last three years, pensions have been sanctioned only in areas where by-elections or local elections were conducted. In the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22, the highest number of sanctions were made in Siddipet (16,978) followed by Medak (10,327), Sangareddy (9,501), and Karimnagar (3,307). In Hanumakonda 871 pensions were sanctioned while in Yadadri- Bhuvnagari 37 pensions were sanctioned and in Jagtial it was 13. In around 22 districts in the state, only one to eight pensions were sanctioned in the last two years.

Graphs prepared by Rythu Swarajya Vedika

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