When will the beleaguered retired seafarers and widows start receiving the pension benefits?
After the government went to the town tom-toming over a month ago that the pension scheme for the retired seafarers and widows has been revived, the ground reality remains unchanged.
The scheme was unveiled with much fanfare via a notification by the Under Secretary, Home department on June 25, with a provision that the scheme will come into force with effect from June 1.
This implied that seafarers will get the pension amount of the month of June and July together subject to the condition that they comply with the requirements, including submission of life certificates.
Around 500 retired seafarers and widows are believed to have already submitted their life certificates to the department of NRI Affairs, but the pension amount does not reflect in their bank accounts till date.
Inquiries by The Goan have revealed that the beneficiaries will have to wait for some time before the pension amount is credited in their accounts.
Sadly, though the government has revived the Goa Welfare/Pension scheme for Seafarers, 2021 with effect from June 1 last, the funds are yet to the transferred to the newly-opened SBI account in the Secretariat.
Reason: Sources in the know say the Finance department is yet to grant expenditure concurrence to the NRI department to pave the way for the Account department to credit the amount in the SBI account for disbursal of the pension.
The Goan understands that while the NRI department has sufficient funds under the head to utilize the same to provide pension for the retired seafarers and the widows, the delay in according expenditure concurrence by the Finance department has come in the way of the beneficiaries receiving the pension.
Inquiries have further revealed that the department, NRI had sent the correspondence to the Finance department around a month ago for the expenditure concurrence, but the same has not come in till date, leaving the retired seafarers and widows high and dry.
Officials of the NRI department informed that though around 500 retired seafarers and widows have submitted their life certificates, with the hope of getting the pension at the earliest, the disbursal of the pension has hit a block for want of the Finance department’s expenditure concurrence.
What’s interesting to note is that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is presiding over the affairs of both the Home and Finance portfolios, with sources saying that while the Home department had notified the pension scheme for the seafarers, the scheme is awaiting implementation over the delay in getting the expenditure concurrence from the Finance department.
Incidentally, the seafaring community had been demanding that the Goa Welfare/Pension scheme for seafarers, 2021, which will remain in force only for six months, from June 21 to November 21, should not be restricted for six months, but ought to be a permanent one like many a social welfare scheme.