Published: 25th November 2019
At 105, Kerala's eldest equivalency learner Bhageerathi Amma still awaits her pension
After attempting the exam at this age, now she is all set to become the brand ambassador of the Kerala State Literacy Mission (KSLM) in the district
When Kerallites are excited to know more about the oldest equivalency learner in the state, the 105-year-old Bhageerathi Amma from Kollam, has one grievance — she has not yet received any pension as she has no Aadhaar card.
Bhageerathi Amma has appeared for the state literacy mission's fourth standard equivalency examination recently and is waiting for her results which are expected to be out in two weeks.
Currently, she is living with her youngest daughter Thankamani (70) in Thrikkaruva panchayat. After Thankamani's husband died, Amma applied for the pension five years ago due to financial issues.
"Agents from the Aadhaar office have not been able to register her biometric details, despite several attempts, because of her fading fingerprint and ageing issues," said Thankamani.
"I have tried for both widow and old-age pension but haven't received any yet. I hope that authorities would consider my plea and take steps to ensure that I receive my pension," said the 105-year-old granny.
According to her daughter, though her mother applied for widow pension many years before, it did not got approved due to some reasons. "But, now the only hurdle the authorities here claims is the absence of an Aadhaar card," said Thankamani.
With the help of literacy workers S N Sherly and K B Vasanthakumar and Thrikkaruva panchayat president and member, Bhagheerathi Amma registered for the course and appeared for the literacy exam. The literacy workers helped her learn at home and prepare for the exams.
"Whenever I come here for taking classes for Amma though she is very active while studying her lessons, she always mentions about the pension which she hasn't received yet," said Sherly.
"As per the new norms of the government, senior citizens above the age of 85 can enrol for their pension without an Aadhaar. Even though such an order is out it hasn't been implemented yet. This is not an isolated case, many such senior citizens are struggling for their basic rights due to the same reason, said Vasanthakumar.
She has six children and 15 grandchildren. After attempting the exam at this age, now she is all set to become the brand ambassador of the Kerala State Literacy Mission (KSLM) in the district. She was chosen by Literacy Mission officials to inspire women to pursue their dreams of studies, which they were forced to abandon mid-way to take up family responsibilities.