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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Jharkhand: Hemant Soren's pension boon for Dalits, tribals on reaching age of 50 years

The announcement was made at a function in Ranchi to mark four years of the JMM-Congress-RJD government.

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 30.12.23, 10:07 AM
Jharkhand chief secretary L Khiangte greets JMM patriarch and Rajya Sabha MP Shibu Soren at the functioin in Ranchi on Friday.

Jharkhand chief secretary L Khiangte greets JMM patriarch and Rajya Sabha MP Shibu Soren at the functioin in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Manob Chowdhury

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Friday announced that the state government would provide pension benefits to Dalits and tribals on reaching the age of 50 years.

The announcement was made at a function in Ranchi to mark four years of the JMM-Congress-RJD government.

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Political analysts viewed the statement in light of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in a few months and the Assembly polls at the end of 2024.

“There are 28 ST reserved seats and nine Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seats in the Jharkhand Assembly while in the Lok Sabha polls, there are five ST reserved parliamentary constituencies and one SC reserved constituency in Jharkhand.

“The announcement made a few months before the Lok Sabha polls might prove to be the game changer for the INDIA bloc in Jharkhand as the BJP marches on the Ram Mandir agenda for the Lok Sabha polls,” said Faisal Anurag, a senior political columnist with vernaculars.

“I think it will be the first state if it starts giving pensions to all Dalits and tribals after they attain 50 years as against the existing standard of 60 years.

“Few states like Telangana had started pensions for ST and Dalits but not with a reduced age,” said a senior official in the chief minister’s secretariat.

Soren, while making the announcement at the packed Morabadi ground in Ranchi, said: “The government has decided to provide pension benefits to tribals and Dalits on reaching the age of 50 years. The death rate among them is high and they do not get jobs after 60 years.”

The chief minister, as he has been doing in recent months, continued to criticise the erstwhile BJP-led government for the pathetic condition of the state.

“We got the separate state of Jharkhand (carved out of Bihar in 2000) after a long fight for the rights of the indigenous people and tribals. Unfortunately, those who were given the responsibility to nurture it destroyed the state and bent on looting its resources through double-engine (a term used by BJP leaders for government at centre and state) and single-engine governments. People died of starvation despite having ration cards,” said Soren.

Soren claimed that only 16 lakh people had received pension benefits in the 20 years after the formation of Jharkhand in 2000 but his government has provided pension to 36 lakh people, mostly those aged above 60 years.

“In four years of our government, we have given pension benefits to 36 lakh people above 60 years of age, widows above 18 years of age and also physically challenged persons…,” he said.

Soren asserted that his government was relentlessly working for the welfare of
the people and a large number of schemes were being implemented for the first time, including his government’s outreach programme
“‘Aapki Yojna, Aapki Sarkar, Aaapke Dwar’, delivering benefits of the government schemes to villagers at their doorsteps.

Soren also announced that the commission of Public Distribution System (PDS) dealers will be enhanced.

The PDS dealers had threatened to down their shutters from January 1 if their demands for enhancement of commission were not addressed.

In the programme, the foundation stone of 323 schemes worth Rs 3,698.33 crore was laid and 20 schemes worth Rs 849.37 crore were inaugurated.

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