The Congress on Monday attacked the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala over the social welfare pension scheme, saying the Left party was behaving as if it was a party scheme being doled out to 3.7 million people in the state.
The total payout, which has already begun, when complete would be to the tune of more than Rs 3,000 crore, including a few months' arrears.
Addressing reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that the CPI(M) has taken over the distribution of the pensions as if the party is giving it out.
"They had decided to distribute the pensions through the primary cooperative banks in the state, but now it has come to a situation that they are doing it through the banks where the CPI(M) is wielding power. In the process, most places where the Congress-led opposition is in power they have not considered them. It's only in places where the CPI(M) does not have banks where their party is not in power are our banks getting this. This is not a pension scheme of the CPI(M)," said Chennithala.
The CPI(M) after it assumed office in May this year hiked the monthly minimum pension to Rs 1,000.
The Oommen Chandy government (2011-16) had increased the number of people under the pension schemes - ranging from widows to agricultural workers, physically challenged, fishermen and several others, mostly from the weakest sections of the society.
"During our time it was given through post offices and banks. The new CPI(M) government came out with an order that this would be handled by the 14 district cooperative banks. All what we are demanding is that the 'colour' of the banks need not be looked into, instead the merit of the organisation should be the criterion," added Chennithala.