'Over 64,000 People Availing State Welfare Schemes Own Luxury Vehicles', Says Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac
On July 25, Wednesday Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac revealed that 64,473 people who have availed state welfare schemes own luxury vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, among others. The minister has also stated that he will be initiating a probe in the matter.
The minister of Communist Party of India (Marxist), took on to his Facebook account to reveal the information. The minister stated that more than 64,000 ineligible pension holder are taking benefits of the Kerala government welfare scheme which are meant for families who have an aggregate income of less than Rs 1 lakh a year.
According to The News Minute, “It was during a trip to identify the ineligible pension applicants that this blood-boiling mean act caught my attention. Some people own BMW and Benz cars are extending their hands for the little pension amount meant to eliminate hunger for the poorest of the poor. What is the point in owning these cars? It is not an easy task to get money for petrol,” wrote Issac on his official Facebook account.
ഒന്നേമുക്കാൽക്കോടിയുടെ ബിഎംഡബ്ല്യൂ. ഒന്നരക്കോടിയുടെ മെഴ്സിഡസ് ബെൻസ്. ഇതൊക്കെ സ്വന്തമായിട്ടുണ്ടെന്നു…
The 65-year-old revealed that 61 of these applicants own Mercedes-Benz, 28 own BMWs, 2,465 own the latest model of Skoda, 296 own Honda and 191 own Mahindra Scorpio. He said that these people who own high-end cars are extending their hands for the meagre pension amounting Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 which is meant to eliminate hunger for the poorest of the poor.
Further taking a dig at these fraudulent pension applicants, the minister said that “What is the point in owning these cars? It is not an easy task to get money for petrol.”
The minister’s department has also identified some other groups of pension holders whose ration cards also feature their children who own such luxury cars. The department has identified 94,043 such beneficiaries.
TM Thomas also mentioned that a probe into the financial accounts of those identified would be initiated, although their welfare benefits will not be withdrawn just yet. He said that his intentions are of levying penalties and fines on the unqualified beneficiaries.
“People not eligible for such schemes can voluntarily give up their pension benefits; no action will be taken against them. The Kerala government is also planning to levy a fine on finds, such ineligible candidates,” Isaac said.
In Kerala, more than 4,218,306 people are dependent on the state-sponsored Social Security Pension Schemes such as Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension, Agriculture Labour Pension, Pension to Unmarried women above 50 years, Indira Gandhi National Disabled Pension Scheme (Mentally/PhysicallY), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, among others.