Andhra CM Jagan promises to continue volunteer system for pension distribution

The statement comes at a time when YSRCP and TDP are at loggerheads after the Election Commission of India (ECI) barred volunteers from distributing pensions in the state.
Andhra CM Jagan
Andhra CM Jagan
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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, April 4 said that 31 elderly people died in the last two days without being able to collect their pensions. He held opposition leader and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu responsible for their deaths. 

Addressing an election campaign at Naidupeta town in Tirupati District, the YSRCP president accused Naidu for stalling the volunteer system and pledged to continue it if the party wins the Assembly elections on May 13. “In the past two days, 31 elderly people died as they were unable to physically reach the locations to collect pensions. Chandrababu Naidu is responsible for their deaths,” CM Jagan said. The statement comes at a time when YSRCP and TDP are at loggerheads after Election Commission of India (ECI) has barred volunteers from participating in pension distribution in the state. 

Read: AP: YSRCP, TDP at loggerheads as ECI stops door delivery of pensions by volunteers

The controversy began when the ECI directed the state government to find an alternative arrangement for distribution of pensions instead of volunteers who were engaged in the door-to-door delivery of pensions. In its letter addressed to the Chief electoral Officer (CEO), Mukesh Kumar Meena, the ECI stated that the directions were issued after Andhra Pradesh’s High Court barred involvement of volunteers in election related activities. The TDP too, had raised its concerns regarding volunteers. Subsequently, the state government has directed the village/ward secretaries to disburse pensions at their offices. The secretariat staff were also asked to deliver pensions to the beneficiaries who cannot travel to the government office 

According to the state government, the pension distribution began on April 3 and will end on  April 6.  In a press release, Principal Secretary for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Sashibhusan Kumar stated that the government has released an amount of Rs 1951.69 crores for this purpose and 65.69 lakhs of beneficiaries can collect pensions at 13,669 village/ward secretariats from 7 am. Special instructions were issued in the guidelines with respect to the mandatory doorstep disbursement of pensions to the vulnerable, it added.

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