Opposition boycotts Kerala Assembly session over ‘non-disbursal’ of social security pension

Congress MLA PC Vishnunath claimed that the failure to distribute social security pensions led to the recent suicide of Joseph.


Published Jan 29, 2024 | 4:09 PMUpdatedJan 29, 2024 | 4:09 PM

Opposition protesting after boycotting proceedings of the Kerala Assembly

The Congress-led Opposition UDF on Monday, 29 January, boycotted proceedings of the Kerala Assembly session after the Speaker refused to grant leave for an adjournment motion concerning the “non-disbursal” of social security pensions in the state.

Congress MLA PC Vishnunath, in a motion seeking adjournment, claimed that the failure to distribute social security pensions led to the recent suicide of Joseph, a resident of Kozhikode.

Finance Minister KN Balagopal expressed regret over the suicide and dismissed the allegation that it was linked to the non-disbursal of social security pensions.

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Dismisses Opposition’s claim

“The person died by suicide on 23 January. He had received his pension for the months of November and December. There is no evidence suggesting that his suicide was due to the non-disbursal of pension,” Balagopal told the Assembly.

Moving the motion, Vishnunath highlighted that the Left government had implemented a cess of ₹2 per litre of fuel in the state to fund social security pension but had failed in its distribution.

Following the Speaker’s refusal to entertain the notice, the Opposition staged a protest in front of his dais for almost 30 minutes before ultimately boycotting the proceedings.

Addressing the media outside the Assembly, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, VD Satheesan said the non-disbursal of the pension was affecting over 50 lakh people and demanded that the government ensure its clearance by February.

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‘Impacts over 50 lakh people’

“We brought this adjournment motion considering the fact that the social security pensions have not been disbursed for the past five months. This issue impacts over 50 lakh people. The government is not taking any action in this regard,” Satheesan said.

The Opposition criticised the Left government, alleging that its priorities lie in spending money for events like Keraleeyam and Nava Kerala Sadas instead of fulfilling its responsibility to provide pensions to the poor and needy.

Meanwhile, Balagopal told the House that Joseph had received ₹52,400 as pension and other benefits last year.

“In 2023 alone, he (Joseph) had received ₹24,400 as social security pension. He received his pension on 24 December He had collected ₹3,200 which includes the pension for his specially-abled daughter,” Balagopal said.

The minister claimed that Kerala is the state where social security pension is being given in a comprehensive manner.

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