Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said those who were imprisoned during the Emergency will be provided pension and a citation. Speaking in the state Assembly during the Question hour, Fadnavis said "pension was an honour more than money" for those who served jail term during the Emergency.
"Many people refused the pension. But some are still poor who lost jobs after being arrested for no fault of theirs," he noted. Earlier, Minister of State for Relief and Rehabilitation Madan Yerawar, while responding to a question by NCP member Ajit Pawar, said 3,267 applications for pension were approved so far.
Out of these, 1,179 applications were approved on the basis of the Rs 100 stamp paper submitted to prove that the applicant served a jail term during the Emergency. Pawar asked how can the pension be given without proof and what was the guarantee that the stamp paper was genuine.
To this, Yerawar said the applications were scrutinised by a committee headed by the district collector concerned and only genuine ones were approved. "A budget of Rs 42 crore was finalised for the pension scheme and out of this, Rs 28 crore to Rs 29 crore has been disbursed," he said.
BJP member Parag Alavani then said those imprisoned during the Emergency are now senior citizens and finding it difficult to make frequent visits to the collectorate. "It is not true that the pension can be availed by just submitting an affidavit. There should be a separate cell in the collectorate office to handle the pension scheme," he demanded.
Subhash Patil (of the Peasants and Workers' Party) said his father and uncle served 18 months in jail during the Emergency and that his family had to face lot of hardships. "Those who served in jail during the Emergency want honour more than money. It would be good if the pension amount is increased to Rs 25,000 and a citation is also given," he said.
However, Fadnavis rejected the demand for an increase in the pension amount, saying, if needed, it would be considered in future. But, he agreed for a citation along with the pension. As per the government's decision, those who were imprisoned for a month will be given a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 and those jailed for more duration will get Rs 10,000 per month.
If those imprisoned have died, their kin would be given a monthly pension of Rs 2,500 (for jail term of a month or less) and Rs 5,000 (for jail term of more than a month). Congress member Basavraj Patil demanded an increase in the pension amount for those who participated in the 'Marathwada Mukti Sangram' (liberation of Marathwada).
To this, Fadnavis said pensions for those who took part in the freedom struggles for Goa, Marathwada and India are on par and have recently been hiked. Emergency was imposed in India from June 25, 1975 to March 21, 1977 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.