Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has reverted the erstwhile Fadnavis government’s decision to pay pension to those jailed during the emergency between 1975 and 1977. The decision to stop the pension scheme was taken, considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation and subsequently shrinking of revenue, the government said.
However, the BJP criticized the decision saying the government has money to buy cars for ministers but not for providing pensions.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that the MVA government is a supporter of emergency, therefore, it has scrapped the pension of those who had fought for democracy.
“When democracy was under threat, several people had struggled to save and protect democratic rights. The government has money to purchase new cars for the ministers but don't have money to pay pensions to those people who have struggled to save our democracy. When our government will come to power, we will restart the same scheme,” the former chief minister added.
The Fadnavis government had introduced the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) pension scheme in July 2018. There are 3,452 prisoners who get Rs 10,000 per month for having been imprisoned during an emergency imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. The previous government had announced the scheme of pension in July 2018 after the demand was raised by BJP legislators in a session.
The state had decided to pay Rs 10,000 per month to a beneficiary imprisoned for more than a month, and Rs 5,000 who was jailed less than a month during the emergency. In case of death of the beneficiary, half of the pension amount to be given to their respective partner.
The general administration department (GAD) has issued a government resolution in this connection on Friday. According to the GR, due to drop in tax and non-tax revenue in the financial year of 2020-21, due to Covid-19 pandemic situation and its impact on the state economy, the state has decided to stop the pension scheme.
Maharashtra BJP chief media coordinator Vishwas Pathak told The Asian Age, “This decision is a pure reflection of late prime minister Indira Gandhi's Congress of 1975, which imposed emergency and the parties including Shiv Sena supported.”