September 17, 2011

INDIA: Senior citizens struggle to survive on paltry pensions

MUMBAI, Maharashtra / Mid-Day / News / September 17, 2011

The worst-hit section of the city's population is the retired senior citizens, who depend on their pension for sustenance.

Gopal and Jayashree Bandekar, who lack the support of their children and subsist on their pension, said, "We have no one to look after us but each other.

The constant increase in the prices of commodities has made it difficult to lead a normal life. We hardly eat, and so do not spend much of our ration allowance. We make large expenditures on medicines, and that eats up half of our pension. Our pension amount is only Rs 5,000, and we have to reach into our savings to just get by. It is shocking that the government has been increasing prices of petrol every two months giving lame excuses."

Jayashree with her husband Gopal Bandekar

MP George (68), retired government official, said, "The rising petrol prices are affecting the common man. In 1966, the price of petrol was 60 paise per litre, and see the difference now. I used to take a rickshaw to reach the market earlier, as I have blood pressure problems. But nowadays I walk to save money. My provident fund is hardly enough. My medicines cost me a lot of money, as a result of which my expenses surpass my monthly interest amount."

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