This would also include homeless and nomadic saints and sadhus, who have no permanent place to live and are generally on the move.
According to sources, the Adityanath cabinet would meet in Prayagraj (Allahabad) either on January 28 or 29 and put its seal of approval on the proposal, which is likely to benefit almost a million sadhus in the state.
The state government would hold special camps across the state till January 30 to enroll the beneficiaries under the ambitious scheme, which is expected to further the ‘hindutva’ agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state against the spectre of arch rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joining hands to take on the saffron outfit.
Presently, destitute persons, including woman and physically challenged, receive a monthly pension of Rs 400, which would now be hiked by 25% to Rs 500/month.
The chief minister stressed the government had decided that no eligible person should be left out of the category of destitute for getting the pension cover, thereby implying that even the sadhus would be covered under the social welfare scheme.
Currently, Kumbh 2019 is going on in Prayagraj and it would continue till March 4. During the 45 odd days of the mega congregation of faith, almost 150 million pilgrims and tourists are expected to arrive in the tent city put up especially for the purpose. The Kumbh 2019 has a budget of almost Rs 4,500 crore compared to merely Rs 1,200 crore during the previous Kumbh congregation in 2013. The CM said millions of sadhus were coming to the Kumbh Mela for the religious rites and bathing in the holy Ganga.
Thus far, destitute saints and seers were not considered for any state government sponsored pension scheme, since they had no residential proofs, while they were also not too keen to apply and avail of the benefits.
Currently, the state government is providing different types of pension facilities, including old age, widow and destitute, to almost 3.5 million people in the state.
Meanwhile, SP president and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav has taken a swipe on the issue, saying he would like the state government to provide Rs 20,000/month pension to saitns.
“I would also urge the UP government to restart the Samajwadi Pension and the Yash Bharti pension. In fact, the state should also give pension to the artistes who play the role of Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita in the stage adaptation of Ramayan…if there are extra funds, then even the person portraying the character of Ravan (demon king) should be provided the pension,” he added.