Fix time-limit for enhancement of disability pension: HC

Feb 24:  In a PIL seeking enhancement of disability pension from Rs 500 per month to Rs 1000 per month, Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat today directed Advocate General D C Raina to have instructions from the State Government with regard to the time frame for enhancement of disability pension. The Division Bench on the request of the Advocate General, fixed the matter for further consideration on March 1.
When this PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for PIL drew the attention of the Division Bench towards the latest status report filed by Commissioner/Secretary Finance Department wherein it was divulged that the financial position of the State at the moment is very poor as the current year’s budget has a deficit of Rs 4600 crore for which the Finance Department is struggling to mop up resources.
Further the State has accumulated power liability of Rs 7000 crore. The status report further said that presently there is no scope for further market borrowing as the State accumulated debt level too has crossed the permissible limit of Rs 50000 crore and Central Government will not allow to raise further debt in view of fiscal responsibility and Budget Management Act.
The status report further said that the financial implications as worked out by the Social Welfare Department is Rs 275.19 crore per annum.
At this stage, the Division Bench asked Advocate M A Bhat appearing for Finance Department to clearly state as to when the State Government intends to enhance the disability pension as recommended by the Social Welfare Department.
On this, Advocate Bhat submitted that as and when the financial health of the State will improve the Finance Department will accord its concurrence to the proposed enhancement.
The Division Bench, however, expressed its anguish over non-committal of time limit by the Finance Department and said, in the open court, that there has to be some time limit looking into the plight of the disabled persons.

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