Long queues outside banks are a usual sight across the country and Punjab is no exception. But as the nationwide lockdown was announced to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, going to banks was out of the question for senior citizens who were advised to stay home. But this led to a major problem for them - their pensions got stuck.
For the last two months, the pensions of senior citizens and disabled people had not been released. This is when the Mansa district police in Punjab decided to step in. "Village police officers" started delivering pensions on the doorstep of elderly people. Over 30,000 pensioners have now received their pension.
The village police officers teamed up with the bank correspondents and collected data for each village and delivered the pensions while maintaining social distance.
"Around 30,000 beneficiaries availing the pension scheme were given their. There were around 9,000 such beneficiaries who faced issues as their thumb impression was not getting detected but by negotiating with the district lead bank manager, we even managed to get their pension delivered," Mansa SSP Narendra Bhargav said.
The project is now in its last leg.
"Beneficiaries whose credentials could not be detected by the machine are also being provided their pension," village police officer Karnail Singh says.
Senior citizens are pleased with the move and appreciate the help.
"This is helping us. We used to stand for hours in the queue outside the banks for our pension. Now the service is being provided at our doorstep," Bhola Singh says.
This initiative is not only helping the elderly, it will also improve police relations with the public at a time when multiple incidents of clashes between cops and mobs have been reported from the state during the lockdown.
In Andhra Pradesh too, over 58 lakh people have received their pension at the doorstep every month during the lockdown.