ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Struggles of Pensioners in Jharkhand

Pension plays a crucial role in the lives of the elderly and widows. A study that was conducted in Ranchi district in Jharkhand among old-age and widow pension benefi ciaries identifi es how the transition to a centralised payment system using the Aadhaar platform has created new hardships for the pensioners who are frail, often illiterate and unaware of these new intimations by the government.

I am grateful to Jean Drèze, Inayat Sabhiki, MGNREGA cluster facilitation team members, Jayanta Kumar Sarkar and Bedotroyee Sarkar.

The elderly and widows are among the most vulnerable sections of the society, especially if they are not socio-economically well-off. Age-related weaknesses, infirmities, and illnesses make an elderly person dependant on others. Similarly, widows too face several social, economic, emotional and cultural deprivations and prejudices. Many countries have various schemes to protect their senior citizens. Among such schemes, the provision for paying them a monthly pension is an important step. In the United States, the widow pension scheme was introduced in 1930. Even before that New Zealand had passed a pension bill for widows in 1911.

India, with an estimated 46 million widows, has overtaken China (44.6 million) to become the country with the largest number of widows (WEF and TRF 2015).The share of the elderly (over age 60) in India’s population has increased steadily over time (from 5.6% in 1961 to 8.6% in 2011), and is still rising. There are 104 million elderly people in India with 53 million women, slightly outnumbering men (51 million). Seventy-one percent of the elderly population reside in rural areas.

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2018
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