To contain leakages, Himachal government doing a recount of pensioners

16K pensioners yet to be physically verified

Shimla: Mounting debt liabilities of the state has forced the finance department to do a physical verification of the about 90,000 pensioners that exist so as to plug leakages and trap any misrepresentations that are taking place.

Director treasury Rajneesh Kumar disclosed that to verify all people drawing pensions, the government had asked the beneficiaries to report at the treasuries in December for availing their pensions.

Despite a lapse of two months about 16,000 pensioners of the about 90,000 existing pensioners are still to present themselves at the treasuries and their pensions have been withheld till the conditionality is met.

“The figure has come down from last month, when it was 26,000 pensioners,” said Rajneesh. “We have also handed out a pensioners list to deputy commissioners asking them to ascertain the existence of those who have not reported at the treasuries.”

He said the exercise was being undertaken as a verification of all existing pensioners on the states accounts.

Though the treasury incharge said nothing about it but sources claimed that cases of pensions being drawn even after the beneficiary had died were coming to notice even as the pension bill was mounting each year.

While the pension account was just Rs 126 crore in 1996-97, for the current year it had increased tenfold and stands at Rs 1298.50 crores.

To cut down pension liabilities, the government though has adopted contributory pension schemes for all new recruitments but there remains’ a large number of employees who on retirement would only add to the state liabilities.

Independent economist DK Sharma says, “since the pension liabilities are only going to increase, it is important that the government keeps a constant vigil that there are no leakages.”

For 2009-10, the total state debt stood at Rs 23,680.72 crore of which Rs 14,461.18 crore is internal debt, Rs 980.30 crore is central debt, Rs 4070.69 crore is general provident fund, Rs 2229.13 crore are other loan liabilities and Rs 1939.42 crore are government guarantees handed out for state public sector undertakings.

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