Death Of An Aged Pensioner In Manipur Raises Many Questions
By John Gaingamlung Gangmei
17 April, 2015
Whom should we blame for the death of senior citizen (aged woman pensioner) in Manipur? Who is accountable for the unpleasant incident? Are the welfare state or system, the state, the Social Welfare Department, the pensioner or the society by large to be blame? The untimely death of a woman pensioner on 15th April 2015 at 1st Manipur Rifles makes me ponder what we are doing. It has been haunting me to know the fact that she died in her attempts to access her entitlement.
In the unbearable summer heat of Manipur, they were summoned in an unorganised location to collect old age pension in open field without any arrangement (shades, drinking water etc). This social security is supposed to protect senior citizen of the state especially marginalised and vulnerable citizen. Have we become very insensitive to the incident and ordeal of the senior citizen? Is the state and its elected representatives trivialising such apathy as common problem? Except a lone MLA no one else has raised voice over the incident and recommended some mechanism in addressing such issue. However, the department does not pay any heed to any of the proposal.
The department was supposed to distributes pension on 10th April, subsequently on 15th April additional manpower were put into services due to large turnout of pensioner who were left out. This clearly indicates flaws in mechanism of dissemination and disbursement of social security i.e. pension. Though the director has conveyed her solidarity and ensured all the possible assistance to the bereaved family. It would also be appreciable if the same assurances are given to all the respectable senior citizen (pensioner) of the state.
Crocodile tears won’t heal the wound or suffering of the senior citizen. The state need to critically introspect its policies and dissemination mechanism of various welfare benefits, rather than harassing them to stand whole day for their entitlements. When direct cash transfer are being highly preferable in reducing leakages and enabling to reach the rightful beneficiaries (entitled person) such possibilities are not explored in the case of the elderly.
John Gaingamlung Gangmei, Research Scholar, TISS, Mumbai.
Comments are moderated