The Indian Government launched the National Pension System scheme with high hopes but it has failed to deliver as expected.One such case is Pakhandu Yadav from Patel Nagar, Munari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh who was denied his pension for not paying a bribe to the Village Head. The Village Head of Munari, Ms Dhani had initially demanded 800 INR from Pakhandu, and when she failed to receive this amount, she had him struck off the census records, thereby proclaiming him dead. When he questioned this action of hers, she demanded 4,000 INR to re-issue a pension card for him. At least 200 more people from the village agree with Pakhandu that the Village Head is not fulfilling her duties. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Shabnam interviews the 70 year old pensioner as she hope to help him claim his rights. The duty of the Village Head is to ensure that all residents of the village have equal and regular access to all benefits provided by the government. They are essentially facilitators between the government and the people. Given that most Government offices are in partnership with touts they expect the elderly to submit their applications directly through them, and not independently. This incurs the elderly more bribes. Not receiving pensions on time is also another issue. Pensioners feel too frightened to complain to the authorities regarding this, fearful that their pension will be stopped altogether. Even postmen who deliver the pensions deduct 20 INR to 40 INR as commission before giving the pension to the beneficiaries. This problem of officials demanding bribes from old age pensioners is not a new one, nor is it linked to the state of Uttar Pradesh. Indeed, it is a nation-wide phenomenon which affects the most marginalised. Our Community Correspondents have documented many such cases and many have even succeeded in getting justice to the elderly. Today you can help another group of pensioners get their rights and dignity back. Please call: Rammi Sonkar, Village Head, Munari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Tel: 9628119536 NOW! Request him to investigate why Pakhandhu Yadav’s case so this old pensioner can begin receiving the much required pension. About the Partnership: The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme and Video Volunteers have come together to create the Community Correspondents Network. The videos generated by the network will be able to highlight voices from the margins, providing skills to social communicators to provide advocacy tools to community based organisations.
In this video of UPS Manwan Awoora school, Kupwara, Kashmir, the community correspondent Pir Azhar shows us that there are nine classes for 250 students, and due to lack of space, the lower primary classes are held outside in the open. Also the school has only 7 teachers.