`One India, One Pension.’ A new campaign is picking up momentum in the country with disparity in the income levels of the people is further widening the gap during the time of coronavirus. The campaign deserves not just attention of all of us, but our support too.
The supporters of the campaign are asking for a universal pension scheme to cover the entire population above 60, irrespective of the status, job or ranks. The promoters say that the country can easily assure Rs 10,000 for all retirees, instead of doling out huge amounts to an elite class.
According to the existing norms, only the government employees, service personnel and select categories like teacher enjoy the pension, depending on their salaries during the service. Not only they are a privileged lot during the service with job protection, DA and leave benefits, they also draw a good amount as pensions. Some senior officials are getting huge amounts as pension.
On the other hand, the poor people, the private employees and those in the unorganised sector have no such benefit during or after the service, making the current pension scheme is a gross injustice.
The supporters also point out that the large amount of the current pension goes into banks as deposit as dead money. Instead, if everybody gets same pension, the entire amount will go into circulation.
Kerala case study
They present Kerala as a case study. Currently, the government employees and the teachers who form just a small category get as much as Rs 2500 crore as pension totally. They form just a very small number. Instead, the government can ensure Rs 10000 as pension to all those above 60 with just Rs 35000 crore a month.
The records reveal that around 20 per cent of the total revenue expenditure of the state went towards paying pension and retirement benefits for the year 2017-18. The report has pegged the payment of pension and other retirement benefits at Rs 19,938.41 crore, which constituted around 19.95 per cent of the total revenue expenditure.
Going by the numbers, Kerala has a population of 3.4 crore and those above 60 must be around 48 lakhs. At the same time, the number of government employees are around 5.15 lakh, who eat much of the state revenues. The total number of pensioners are around 2.35 lakh who get 20% of the state revenue. This is a gross injustice, according to the supporters of the campaign.
It is time that we take it as a national campaign and force all political parties to include it as a poll agenda for the coming days. If one states is bold enough to implement it, more will follow.