Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Senior citizens happy about allowance increase


By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, June 4: On Saturday, while presenting the budget for the coming fiscal year of 2021/22, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel announced that the old-age allowance would be increased to Rs. 4,000 per month from the current amount of Rs. 3,000. This has made senior citizens very happy.
Shyamal Pradhan was delighted when he heard on the radio that the elderly allowance had been increased by Rs. 1,000. The 72-year-old resident of Hattiban, Lalitpur, feels that the government understood the plight of the senior citizens, many of whom have been made economically vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. “Finally, it feels like the state is our guardian,” he said, thanking Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Finance Minister Paudel for the raise.
Similarly, in Banepa, Kavre, 70-year-old Satya Kumar Tamang jumped up in joy when his grandson told him that his social security allowance had been increased. Tamang, who is a farmer, has not been able to work since he contracted COVID-19 in January and his income has suffered as a result. “This Rs. 1,000 increase will go a long way in helping elderlies like me. This will at least allow us to buy our own medicines,” he said, smiling.
Kalyani Chand of Leguwa, Dhankuta was also jubilant but was expecting the government to make the allowance Rs. 5,000 from this year. The 71-year-old retired civil servant said that senior citizens contributed to the country and the economy throughout their youth and hence deserved to be looked after by the state in their old age.
Madandas Shrestha, president of the National Senior Citizens Federation, told The Rising Nepal that senior citizens all over the country were ecstatic about the increase, which, he said, will help them maintain a dignified life. “Everyone is very happy and thankful to the government. With the allowance, we won’t have to look to our children every time we need a little money,” he said.
However, Shrestha had one request: “The government deposits the social security allowance in the bank. But old age pensioners, especially in the rural areas, may find it difficult to travel to the bank to receive it. So, it would be a great help if they could arrange to have the allowance money delivered to the homes of those who need it.”
According to the Social Security Act of 2018, every citizen aged over 70 years, and Dalit and single women aged over 60, is entitled to receive the senior citizen allowance as prescribed by the Government of Nepal as their social security allowance. As per the census of 2011, there are 640,104 people aged over 70 in Nepal.
The system of distributing elderly allowance was initiated by the government of the CPN-UML in the fiscal year 1994/95. Back then, only the people aged over 75 years received the allowance which was Rs. 100.