New Delhi: Eyeing on the next general elections in 2014, UPA Government is going to hike pension for old age pensions, widows and disabled persons. The government is also likely to ease the criteria for availing benefit of pensions.

As per the new norms, the minimum age for availing pension benefit will be slashed from 40 to 18. The old age pension can be linked to inflation index for universalization of pensions.

Replying to a question raised by Congress MP Hussain Dalwai during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha over dharna being staged by the pensioners at Jantar Mantar, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that pension system needs overhaul.

The most important issue we have agreed upon is that everyone should get a pension and the APL/BPL distinction should be done away with,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told.

Agreeing to pension hike, Jairam said that the final decision lies with the Union Cabinet. The Rural Development Minister said that he has already held two rounds of meeting with pension parishad.

Currently, the Central Government provides Rs 8.500 crore to three crore people, including the aged poor who get Rs 200, and widows and disabled people who get Rs 300 each per month.

(JPN/Bureau)

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