Why the Desire to Keep Going Back to India
I know it's quite repetitive and boring when the topic seems to be the same, but in a real sense, there is not one unified India, which is modern and a competitor of China, but several Indias in one. Remember this classic advertisement: "Buy one get 3 free?" Well, this fits well for the various images of India, which I have experienced growing up.
Between 1982 and up to 2006, I was so caught up in pursuing my own personal goals I never realized when I crossed the 40's and entered the 50's. The children left for Canada, the extended family was well settled and that was the time when I felt like going back home.
November 2006 saw me heading back home. Time has stood still here, almost frozen. Its almost like when you leave Indian shores and visit any developed country in Europe or America. It's like a huge chasm between that India (modern) and this India (underdeveloped).
Where I come from (Delhi), the standards of living are almost on a par with the rest of the world. The youth is energetic, on the go and ready to face any challenge. Urban India is easily the best and most acceptable face for every Indian because we can hide our poverty, filth and squalor from the rest of the world. But even if you will just look around our metros, maybe be you will find glimpses of the other India.
With more than 60 years of Independence, does any Indian really know what it means to be free? The central government launches several schemes for the poor, the old, the widows, the handicapped, but do the benefits reach them?
In states like Jharkhand, these are schemes meant for the wealthy, the middlemen. Do you know that nearly 65% of the beneficiaries of the old age pension are men and women who are in the age group of 30-50 years? Fudged photos on the form and corruption from top to bottom in the administration are responsible for this misdemeanor. (This I have experienced myself.)
NATIONAL OLD AGE PENSION SCHEME
- Out of 22 districts in Jharkhand, there are 5 districts, namely Giridih, Gumla, Ranchi, Sahebganj, and Simdega, where the release of funds during the financial 2001-2002 up to Jan. 2002 is nil. (Dept. of Labour, Govt. of Jharkhand.) This reveals the lack of seriousness of the Government regarding the implementation of the scheme.
- The reported expenditure till Jan. 2002 is nil in many districts of Jharkhand, namely Dumka, East Singhbhum, Palamau and Simdega.
- Out of a planned target of 166,238 beneficiaries to provide monthly pension of Rs. 100 per month, only 131,432 beneficiaries are receiving the benefits. This shows that 21% of the targeted beneficiaries have not been identified and benefited, though a lot of applications are still pending in the concerned offices for approval.
- Despite allotment by the Central Government, the remittance by the state government to the districts is less than 50%.
- Out of 890 eligible beneficiaries from 65 surveyed villages, only 274 beneficiaries, i.e. 31%, are getting the benefits of the scheme.
- The beneficiaries do not get the money on regular basis. Rather, they receive it every 6 months, on an average.
- In some cases, the beneficiaries have so far not been identified. In Garhwa/Palamau district, after the death of beneficiaries, new identification has not been done to date.