Goa’s Welfare Pension Scheme though declared, nobody received a cent
Government of Goa launched The Goa Welfare / Pension Scheme for Seafarers to provide financial assistance in the form of gross pension. Unfortunately, it proved to be harder to get the fund.
Close to a pipe dream
As the name “pension” suggests, it involves individuals at a median age of 65 years and ready for retirement. However, these senior seafarers did not have the luxury of retirement and continue to be hired as crew onboard tankers amongst other vessels. The unemployed had to settle for low-income jobs like painters, loaders and fitters. This minority of seniors are also deprived of pensionary benefits, with some laid off from disabilities or just plain old age.
The Goa Welfare / Pension Scheme for Seafarers, 2012 is to provide financial assistance of Rs. 2,500 (US$34) per month to retired Goan seafarers on completion of 60 years of age; employed on lowly paid jobs onboard the ship and retired, including those invalidated on medical grounds before retirement, and widows of deceased crew on compassionate grounds, provided the annual income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 1.20 lakhs (US$ 1,617).
Since the scheme’s declaration in June, the authorities have yet to release the funds, as claimed by Goa Seaman’s Association of India (GSAI). Frank Viegas, President of GSAI said that most of the beneficiaries have submitted their life certificates and bank details to their respective Members of Legislation Assembly (MLAs) and also at the GSAI office, which in turn has submitted it to the NRI department at Panaji. The association added the beneficiaries are mostly senior citizens, running from pillar to post to complete the formalities just to obtaining various certificates warranting their eligibilities.
GSAI has requested both the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and NRI Commissioner Narendra Sawaikar to make the scheme permanent. Sharing the same sentiments included Goa Forward Party’s General Secretary Prashant Naik, and Simon Rebello, Chairperson of Canacona Municipal Council. The GSAI also requested that the arrears be cleared to avoid unnecessary chasers from the community. Viegas added the GSAI has also reached out to opposition leader Digambar Kamat, and MLAs namely, Vijai Sardesai, Aleixo Reginaldo and Churchill Alemao – for assistance to flag this issue to the Chief Minister.
Crewing Online News Team
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