Thursday, August 22, 2013

Indian elders demand universal pension

Over the past several months elderly poor citizens have repeatedly rallied at the Indian parliament in New Delhi to demand a universal pension system for those above 60 years of age. In 1995 India did set up a pension system which is stingy in disbursements & apparently a labyrinth of disqualifiers. The closest analog in US politics is Obamacare--except the Indian pension plan may be more readable.

The pension program, called the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, is not universal & provides only some Indians over 65 years old & living below the poverty line of 82 Rupees (US $1.25) per day with a pension of 200 Rupees (US $3.00) per month per beneficiary. In order to bring elderly up to the paltry poverty line the government would have to cough up over 2,200 more Rupees (US $34.00) per month.

That’s why thousands of elderly protestors are demanding a universal pension of 2,000 Rupees a month, still shy of the poverty line requiring 2,500 Rupees (US $38.00) a month--so the largesse is all on the side of the poor.

Though it may be inspiring to see elderly people on the battlefield against shysterism & greed, this woman should not have to spend her senior years fighting for her due after working all her life in factory or field. Our fullest solidarity with their fight.

(Photo by Altaf Qadri/AP)

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