Under the banner of Pension Parishad, over 150 organizations across India have extended their support to the stir. They have also demanded that pensions should be given on time and more importantly, it should increase with the growing inflation.

The pension should either be Rs 2000 or half the price of the minimum wages, whichever is higher.

"We had protested in March 2013 and Congress Minister Jairam Ramesh assured to look into the issue. The matter is currently pending in the Prime Minister's Office and we want a decision should be taken on this at the earliest," said Purnima Chikermane, a representative of Pune based Kagad, Kach, Patra Kashtkari Sanghatana who has come to Delhi to participate in the protest.

According to Shankar Singh of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan, although the pension scheme exists in different states, only Rajasthan, Goa and Haryana have the universal pension scheme.

Of these, Goa gives the highest pension of Rs 2000 per month to its elderly population, Haryana gives Rs 1500 while Rajasthan gives a mere Rs 500. In all these schemes, the
Centre contributes Rs 200 while the rest are borne by the state. He also added that 48 percent of elderly people in the country are dependants.
    
The scheme, as demanded by the organizers, should include people from unorganized sector like cycle rickshaw pullers, forest dwellers, agricultural and construction workers, waste pickers, domestic workers, sex workers and transgenders, etc.
    
Organizers also said that there were some exclusions in this as well, which included people, mostly government employees, who received pension either by the Centre or the state government.

(Agencies)

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