Jailed during Emergency: Maha govt identifies 3,452 beneficiaries across 36 districts for pension scheme

MAHARASHTRA : The state government has finally identified 3,452 beneficiaries across 36 districts for the pension scheme to honour those who were imprisoned during the Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977). The government has released Rs 13.62 crore to all the beneficiaries till December.

In 2018, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra had followed in the footsteps of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to declare the scheme.

In a government resolution on September 30, the state government said it took a policy decision to provide a monthly honorarium to the beneficiaries. The eligibility criteria entails that a beneficiary should have been imprisoned under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act and the Defence of India Act during the 21-month Emergency, imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

According to the scheme, the government decided to pay Rs 10,000 per month to beneficiaries imprisoned for more than a month and Rs 5,000 per month to their partner after their death. It also declared a monthly honorarium of Rs 5,000 for those imprisoned for less than one month and Rs 2,500 to their partner in event of their death.

Going by the figures, the maximum number of beneficiaries are in Pune district with a total strength of 557 followed by 350 in Nagpur and 316 in Buldhana, while there are no beneficiaries from Gadchiroli district. The least number of beneficiaries are from Washim district.

The government has released Rs 13.19 crore for 3,380 beneficiaries from July to December and Rs 4.85 lakh for 72 beneficiaries from April to December.

In November 2018, the government opened a budgetary head in the name of ‘Monetary relief for people fighting for democracy during the Emergency from 1975 to 1977’, for which it made an allocation of Rs 42 crore through supplementary demands.

The state government had directed the district collectorate to pay the honorarium with effect from January 2018 and start disbursing the amount to identified beneficiaries with immediate effect.