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SRINAGAR — The people belonging to the weaker sections have complained that they have been struggling for survival due to the government’s “failure” to release a Rs 1000 pension to them since February this year.

The old-age persons, widows, divorcees, women in distress, transgender people and persons with disabilities (PwDs) said the government was providing Rs 1000 in the name of financial assistance to them through the Social Welfare Department under the Integrated Social Security Scheme for years.

“But we were told to apply afresh on the SUGAM portal to get the benefit. Even those who have already applied afresh are also waiting for the pension,” a woman from Srinagar told the news agency KNO.

Mohammad Maqbool, a handicapped person from Pulwama, said that in September-October last year, the government came up with new rules and asked them to apply fresh on the SUGAM portal to avail of the benefits.

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“The people like me belonging to any such categories had to move from pillar to post for days together to prepare all the documents including Domicile Certificate, Age Certificate, Aadhaar and Disability Certificate to register on the SUGAM portal. Despite completing all the formalities, most of the persons including me are yet to receive pension since then,” he said.

In April, the government released the pension of only those beneficiaries whose bank accounts were seeded with Aadhaar while the rest are still waiting for it.

“It seems the government has no mercy on old, handicapped, windows and other weaker sections of society as they asked us to make UIDAI cards to avail pension scheme. When we made these cards after a lot of struggle, they then asked us to apply on the SUGAM portal to get the benefit of the pension scheme,” Maqbool said, adding that even those who have applied on the SUGAM portal are awaiting pension for months.

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Many old-age people said the government is well aware of their plight but is not doing anything for them. “There are hundreds of people among us who are wholly and solely dependent on this assistance but for months, they have been going through very tough times,” they said.

They have appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, an official of the Social Welfare Department said that those who have successfully registered themselves on the SUGAM portal and whose cases have been approved will start getting pensions in their bank accounts. “Backlog will be cleared and other cases are being verified,” he said.

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