Hyderabad: Thousands of Asara pensioners in Telangana are alive on records even after death and their family members are enjoying the monthly payout. This came to light after state officials tried to ascertain the implementation of the scheme, meant for the elderly, in a few districts.
The Telangana government recently doubled the amount from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,016 for all categories and from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,016 for the disabled. The state is keen on delisting the names of deceased pensioners in the first phase of cleaning the records of Asara scheme.
There are 39 lakh Asara pensioners in Telangana of which about 22 lakh get the money from the Postal department by giving their thumb impression. Nearly 17 lakh people get the pension directly credited into their bank accounts.
The Postal department closes the Asara account if the pensioner doesn't turn up for three consecutive months. However, banks don't have any such parameter. So the pension gets credited into the accounts of beneficiaries even after death. Officials have so far come across 7,700 such cases and identified about 26,000 ineligible recipients. The drive to identify fake beneficiaries continues, said an official.
Teams comprising MPDOs, MPOs and Panchayati Secretaries are visiting the houses of pensioners and examining the eligibility criterion. "We're identifying pensioners and examining whether they're alive or residing in villages or not. More than 7,600 pensioners are no more, while 26,000 pensioners didn't come to the Post Offices for receiving pension amount," said the official.