July 26, 2018
Kochi: Owners of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other luxury cars and thousands of ‘souls in heaven’ are claiming poor man’s pension in Kerala, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said.
Sixtyone people owning Mercedes-Benz, 28 BMW, 2,465 Innova, 64 Skoda, 296 Honda, 191 Scorpio are claiming pension given by the government to the underprivileged under the social welfare scheme.
These people are shamelessly claiming pension to reduce their burden to buy fuel for their luxury cars, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said sarcastically in a Facebook post. There are at least 64,473 people who are illegally claiming the amount, he said. The details came out while the finance department went in pursuit of fictitious claimants.
More shocking matter was that 31,256 dead people were still claiming the benefits. This was revealed when the database of the finance department and the death registers of different panchayats were perused, he said.
Malappuram district topped the tally 5,753, Thrissur 5,468, Kozhikode 4,653, Palakkad 4,286, Thiruvananthapuram 4,016, Kasargod 337 and Idukki 239 among others.
This is on the basis of records available with the local bodies who issue death certificates. Thousands of deaths had gone unrecorded as their kin had not applied for death certificates. This was being probed and all those drawing pension illegally would stop getting it before Onam festival, he said.
The list of the shady claimants would be given to panchayats where the secretaries should find out the status.
This was the final warning to those who might be drawing it inadvertently. There was time for them to quit voluntarily, he said. If they were caught red handed by the government, action would be taken which included recovery of the amount claimed by them.
There are at least 94,043 shady people claiming pension and availing of ration subsidies showing poor income. These people have been found to be having very rich children earning high income and living luxuriously.
Panchayats had been directed to find out their bonafides. Based on the report, the government would act against them, he said.