Kerala government move to keep some disability categories out of pension scheme criticised
The Kerala government is gearing up to exempt people with disabilities of certain categories from their monthly pension scheme. Some of the criteria to exempt a person includes having air conditioned car or house. But disabled people in the state are protesting against the government’s latest move which is being done without proper study or survey of the needs and requirements of members from the disabled community.
For people with disabilities who have mobility issues, monthly government pensions are their only source of income. In Kerala, there are thousands of people with disabilities who rely on the state government’s pension scheme for disabled people to support themselves and their family even though it is mostly a very meagre amount. Now, the state government is gearing up to introduce limitations in allowing pensions. Some of the main criteria to cut the pension of a disabled person are if they have their own houses or cars, especially air conditioned ones. The revenue department had announced this earlier this month. Disabled people from across the state are gearing up to protest against this, which they call as one of the biggest injustices towards community members.
There are many disabled people who met with accidents later on in life due to which they are unable to go for work. For them, a government pension scheme is the only source of income. Members from the disabled community state that the government has not done a detailed study before exempting such people from the pension scheme.
All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) is gearing up to protest if the government does not adhere to their demands. Rajeev Palluruthy, state secretary says that the government must be more sensitive towards needs of people with disabilities.
We have informed concerned officials about many disabled people being upset over cutting of their monthly pensions. If they do not understand our needs, we will have to go out and protest. There are many disabled people who have air-conditioned houses and cars which they have bought before their accidents or illness. But now, they are struggling to make ends meet. Why does the government not understand that?-Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, AKWRF.
30 year old Manu* (name has been changed), who is a wheelchair user, met with an accident a few years back which affected his spinal cord. Last year, he brought a second hand car and made alterations to it so that he could travel around with his elderly parents. Since he is unable to work, Manu has been struggling to make ends meet. For people like Manu, monthly pension was indeed a blessing. Knowing that the government is going to cut it, Manu is searching in the dark now.
“There are many disabled people who cannot make ends meet but have their own houses which someone else might have built for them out of charity. Owning a house or car does not mean that you are able to fend for yourselves with a disability. The government must understand our needs and requirements”, says Rajesh S, member of AKWRF.
Disabled people in the state are requesting the government to alter the exemptions or else they do not have any option but to go out and protest against the injustice.