It is a truism, though painful, that the Central Government’s priorities in fiscal matters are determined by the perceived sensitivities of the foreign and Indian corporate sector and the richer class rather than the urgent and humanitarian considerations for the poor and old citizens of India. How I wish that instead the government was to show urgent attention to the plight of about 10 crore elderly people (eight per cent of the Indian population, with one-sixth of them living without any family support)! No doubt, under the Central Government’s pension scheme, persons above the age of 60 get a pension of Rs 200 and those above 80 years Rs 500 per month, but this is applicable to those below the poverty line. The uncertainly is increased by the ever-fluctuating determination by the government of what should be the poverty level: pensions vary in different States—Delhi paying a maximum of Rs 1000 per month while others like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, etc. only Rs 200 per month.
Of the total elderly population, only 1.97 crore are beneficiaries of IGNOAPS, which means that only about one in every five persons over 60 years receives old-age pension.