The Government of Goa has come out with several pension schemes, for freedom fighters, MLAs, widows, physically handicapped, senior citizens. motor cycle pilots and now football players are soon to be added to the burgeoning lists of eligible. The so called Laadli Laxmi scheme, unexpected windfall in present form, is only encouraging wasteful expenditure and is no way going to increase the sex ratio. Our fertile imaginations are running wild to seek the lime light with a difference. The earlier scheme on the birth of the girl child and survival up to 18 years plus was more sensible. When are the lists of pensions and doles just going to end? The doles for educated unemployed, housewives, pension for seafarers, are waiting implementation.
The legitimate demands of panchas, councilors, zilla panchayat members clamouring for pensions are not loud and vociferous for the time being. These are non-productive, popular schemes that are paid by the general public through taxes. The state Government, as is in other states, is also falling prey, to enhance their popularity, political image building and consolidating their hold, with the sole aim of bouncing back to power in near future. Even though provision are being envisaged in the budget, this largess will only add to the burden of subsequent government.
The huge burden of debt on every citizen and even the unborn child in the state is huge. The next government in turn will resort to more such gimmicks and bravado to out do their predecessors There is a provision, of the right of maintenance of the elders by their children, but such an act is not legally enforced, when the senior citizens claim seniors’ pension. If well to do family members, disown their kith and kin, is the state bound to take on the responsibility? The system of old age homes, orphanages should be strengthened, improved to accommodate such a disadvantageous population in dire needs. Then also extreme caution is to be exercised in implementation of the scheme.
The power of the MLAs to vet the forms is designed to favour and patronise them. Such forms submitted directly to Social Welfare Department rarely see the light of the day The financial conditions of widows, senior citizens are to be scrutinised, with respect to their bank balances and other income generating activities, dependents. There are any number of bogus claims supported by the legislators to earn their good will. Even though the continuation of the schemes are inevitable and cannot be discontinued immediately without a backlash absolute check and norms must be scrupulously adhered too, if necessary the rules must be modified in the light of experience to cheat. All such schemes must reach only to the most deserving at best.