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

The Congress-led opposition UDF on Monday boycotted proceedings of the Kerala Assembly after the Speaker refused to grant leave for an adjournment motion concerning the "non-disbursal" of social security pensions in the state.
Kerala Opposition leader V D Satheesan
Kerala Opposition leader V D Satheesan

Thiruvananthapuram | The Congress-led opposition UDF on Monday boycotted proceedings of the Kerala Assembly after the Speaker refused to grant leave for an adjournment motion concerning the "non-disbursal" of social security pensions in the state.

Congress MLA P C 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 K N Balagopal expressed regret over the suicide and dismissed the allegation that it was linked to the non-disbursal of social security pensions.

"The person died by suicide on January 23. 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 Rs two 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, V D Satheesan said the non-disbursal of the pension was affecting over 50 lakh people and demanded that the government ensure its clearance by February.

"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 Rs 52,400 as pension and other benefits last year.

"In 2023 alone, he (Joseph) had received Rs 24,400 as social security pension. He received his pension on December 24. He had collected Rs 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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