Pondicherry social protection department discovers scam in pension scheme

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The Pondicherry Department of Social Protection uncovered a scam in the pension scheme for poor women with around 60% of claims made in a single village turned out to be false.

This followed instructions given to the department by Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi to conduct an audit, based on a whistleblower complaint. During a preliminary check, the Department of Social Welfare found that women in a particular village were receiving the pension to which they were not entitled.

Social Welfare Secretary C. Udaya Kumar later reported to the Lieutenant Governor in a virtual meeting that about 60% of verified households were faking their eligibility. They had been asking for the pension for a long time, wrongly. In several cases, it turned out that they were living with their spouse or family.

While their pensions were stopped on the spot, collection notices are also considered to be sent to them by the ministry, after checking the records to see how long they have been receiving such a pension. The amount of the pension is around 2,000 per month.

The secretary also said that a team would be deployed to undertake an investigation to detect cases of embezzlement of public funds by the truly needy.

According to Ms. Bedi, the whistleblower in his petition had also mentioned that this kind of deception took place under the protection of “influential people”.


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