Sunday, December 12, 2010

OAP - UP -Disbursement anomalies

Grave benefits: In UP, even dead get pension
Arvind Singh Bisht, TNN, Nov 8, 2010, 12.58am IST

LUCKNOW: UP is a classic case of corruption where even dead are being
given old-age pension. This way, a sum of Rs 4.21 crore, was given
away as pension and transferred to 18,461 accounts of the dead persons
between 2007-09.

"What is disturbing is that no steps have so far been taken to seek
refund of this amount for the past three years even after detecting
the lapses on part of the social welfare department," the Comptroller
and Auditor General (CAG) of India said in its latest report.

There are also rampant cases of excess and double disbursement and
payment of pension to ineligible persons in the absence of any
physical verification mechanism. The clandestine operation shows a
nexus between officials of the social welfare department responsible
for implementing the scheme and the nationalised banks, selected for
maintaining accounts of beneficiaries of the old age pension.

Notably, the scheme, funded jointly by the state and the Centre, has
an objective to provide financial support to destitute old persons
aged 60 years and above, who are below poverty line. At present,
around 50 lakh persons are being covered under the scheme in the state
with a total budgetary allocation of around Rs 4,000 crore. Likewise,
another Rs 400 crore are stipulated under the National Family Benefit
Scheme (NFBS), meant for assisting those in distress due to death of
their sole bread-earner of the family in the age of 18 and 64 years.
The quantum of pension in both the schemes is fixed at Rs 300 per

However, the CAG showing dissatisfaction with their performance, has
pointed out that survey for identification of beneficiaries was
inadequate and their implementation suffers due to ineffective
monitoring at district/directorate and government levels. While no
database of pensioners is available, the old age pension schemes are
not dovetailed with other poverty alleviation schemes as envisaged,
the CAG points out.

The result was that there were large number of cases of erroneous
payment of pension to ineligible candidates, irregular or
non-disbursement, incorrect reporting of physical verification of the
beneficiaries and double payment of pension.

Citing instances, the CAG pointed out that only 235 pensioners were
verified in Agra out of total 36,566 pensioners involving payment of
Rs 13.16 crore during 2008-09. Out of 235, two cases of death and one
who had left the village were detected, but pension had been paid into
their bank accounts. In Fatehapur, out of total 42,668 pensioners, the
verification reports for 22,635 beneficiaries (53%) from Malwan,
Amauli, Khajuha and Deomai blocks were not available.

Records relating to sanction of pension showed that cases of
ineligible beneficiaries were rampant. In a random survey, 2,323 out
of 3,600 pensioners were ineligible to get pension on ground that they
had adult sons, as per their own admission in the application forms.
Likewise, pensions were also given to a large number of those already
covered under various other schemes. Similarly, cross-checking of
beneficiaries in the physical verification lists with those appearing
in the bank advice, revealed double payment of Rs 47.90 lakh to 1,070
pensioners during 2007-09.

Survey conducted to identify the eligible persons for grant of benefit
under the old age pension scheme, the CAG, pointed was unreliable.
Monitoring was weak, as state level committee (SIC) and district level
committees (DLC) were not constituted. The CAG thus recommends that
identification of pensioners should be made after proper survey and
the SIC and DLCs should be constituted for effective monitoring of the

Read more: Grave benefits: In UP, even dead get pension - The Times of

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