Published On : Sat, Feb 1st, 2020

Maharashtra govt mulls shutting down pension scheme for those jailed during Emergency

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state is contemplating closing down the scheme floated by the erstwhile BJP government in the state to honour and give pensions to those who were jailed under the National Security Act (NSA) during the Emergency.

While a senior Congress minister in the MVA government, Dr Nitin Raut, had already raised objections to the scheme calling it “wrong”, the law and judiciary department too has now questioned the implementation of the scheme under which 3,267 individuals have been getting pensions ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per month since January 2018.

The scheme was initiated by the Devendra Fadnavis government after similar schemes were introduced in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. A group of RSS activists jailed for opposing the imposition of the Emergency were against the scheme. However, it was implemented despite opposition from several groups.

According to Dr Raut, the scheme was announced in July 2018 but the beneficiaries were given a pension since January 2018. He called such back-dated benefits “wrong” while opposing it.
Under the scheme, those who were jailed for more than one month are entitled to a pension of Rs 10,000 per month while those jailed for a period less than a month are entitled to get Rs 5,000 per month. While 3,267 individuals have already been receiving the pension since January 2018, at least 1,200 more applications are in the state of final approval, officials have said.

Prospective beneficiaries are made to declare their arrest during the Emergency on a simple stamp paper of Rs 100 and granted a pension on the basis of this declaration. The law and judiciary department has now raised objections to this “simple” procedure for implementation of the scheme.

“This amounts to a political benefit out of the government coffers,” said an official requesting anonymity. The finance department too had passed adverse remarks against the scheme earlier.