People in Bihar on Monday launched a protest against the state government for not providing widows their due under a social security scheme.
The Laxmibai Social Security Widow Pension Scheme, introduced in 2007, is aimed at the welfare of widows in Bihar. Under the scheme, widows living under the poverty line are provided with an amount of Rs.300 per month.
However, the widows are not getting the amount from the state government.
The protesters said that the state government had promised an amount of rupees 11 lakh in September last year but the amount is yet to be distributed among the aggrieved parties.
“The priorities of the Bihar government have changed. They used to say that they would help the poor, the helpless and the widows. Today the pension to widows which is given 75 percent by the central government and 25 percent by the state is not being distributed, and this reflects the negligence on government’s part,” said a legislator of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nitin Navin.
The protesters blamed the corrupt system that is responsible for the distribution under the scheme, saying the money goes through long channels and is often eaten up by the very people who are accountable for distribution.
In addition, the remuneration is lent after a period of three to four months at the local council instead at the woman’s own village. This is a cumbersome process especially for old women, who have to traverse faraway places.
“We demand that the money that comes in from the state government should be given to the widows. Each month, there should be camps set up in the concerned woman’s village instead of her coming to the local council for which she has to bear additional expenses. Money should then be distributed to the widows after a verification process,” said another legislator of BJP, Usha Vidyarthi.