Baffling biometric, elusive pensions
With the State government implementing direct online account transfer of the pension amount of all the Aasara pension beneficiaries through biometric verification method, majority of people who are very old and illiterate are facing problems at banks and ATMs as they are not aware of the bank procedures to withdraw the amount from their accounts.
Mahbubnagar: With the State government implementing direct online account transfer of the pension amount of all the Aasara pension beneficiaries through biometric verification method, majority of people who are very old and illiterate are facing problems at banks and ATMs as they are not aware of the bank procedures to withdraw the amount from their accounts.
Most of the beneficiaries are also facing problems with the biometric fingerprints systems as it sometimes is not recognising the fingerprints of the beneficiary thereby making pensioners undergo harrowing times at the banks. Recently, Kavali Balakistaiah, an Aasara pension beneficiary of Kadukuntla Village in Wanaparthy district died at APGVB Bank while standing in line to get his pension dues. To overcome this problem, majority of the old pension beneficiaries in Mahbubnagar district demand that the concerned authorities continue with the old system of distributing the pension to the beneficiary right at their homes.
“Since the past three months, they have started a new system of biometric verification at the banks. With our fingerprints not getting recognized, we are facing lot of problems at the banks, as the officials are rude and non supportive. We want the officials to distribute pension at our homes directly,” said Yadamma, an old pension beneficiary, who had come to the district collectorate to petition her grievance with the district authorities.
The biometric fingerprints system which is introduced to ascertain the authenticity of the beneficiary at the banks is sometimes not working and some of the pensioners have not received their pension amount for the past three months. “Due to some technical problems, the biometric systems may sometimes fail to work. But the DRDA officials are always having an alternative way to distribute the pensions. The beneficiaries need not panic. They will definitely get all their dues,” said an official at Andhra Bank.
Earlier, the village panchayat secretaries used to distribute pensions to the old beneficiaries by directly going to their homes. But now the government has made it mandatory to deposit directly to the account holder in the bank. “We did not have any problem at that time, but now with new system in place we are not able to go to banks and we are illiterate to use bank accounts and ATMs. Every time we need to take assistance from others which is making us more insecure,” said Satyamma, a 70-year-old woman.
Particularly, this problem is more serious with the old age people who are handicapped and immovable. For instance, more than 60-70 old age pensioners in Ippalapally village of Bhootpur mandal in Mahbubnagar district are handicapped. All these Aasara pension beneficiaries who are handicapped and blind need to travel more than 18 kilometers to reach the nearest bank at Amistapur for getting their pension.
Even then they are not sure they will get their due amount, as they have to go through a lot of procedural hardships at the bank. “For the past three months no one is giving me a single penny to meet my needs in my family. My son and daughter-in-law are behaving indifferently since the day I am not getting pension. I beg to the officials to kindly pay the pensions at our homes and don’t trouble us to roam around banks and ATMs as we do not know how to operate,” informed Bheemamma, another blind old age pensioner.
When contacted with DRDA project Director Damodar Reddy, he said, “We have some technical problem in implementing the biometric system. For those people who are having problems with biometric, we have asked the officials to give cheques manually, very soon we will resolve all the problems on priority.”
Most of the beneficiaries who are from the rural and interior villages are complaining that they are very old and not able to move from their homes without the support of others and it is becoming a huge task every month to travel from their remote village to the nearby town to reach the bank and even then they are unsure that they will get their pension amount.
By A Raju