Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 25 July 2024 7.21 AM IST

27 months since distribution of benefit of Rs 600 came to halt; no mercy towards caregivers of bedridden patients


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 27 months have passed since the distribution of the meagre benefit of Rs 600 for the caregivers of bedridden patients came to a halt. For the last two years, these caregivers have been reaching out for the government's mercy.

A sum of Rs 12.5 crore in arrears must be paid to almost 1.15 lakh people. Arrears of 13 months out of 40 months were paid last Onam following the intervention of the High Court and the Human Rights Commission. Thus, each person got Rs 7800. After that, there has been no news from the authorities regarding the settlement of the outstanding arrears.

The Department of Social Justice introduced the Aswasakiranam scheme in 2010 to offer financial support of Rs 600 per month to caregivers who tend to physically and mentally bedridden patients. The authorities are now trying to avoid as many people as possible from this scheme. No new application is being accepted after 2018. Nearly 80000 applications are pending.

The bedridden patients are worried that the scheme will be stopped. For the last 10 years, the authorities have not conducted a survey to find the number of bedridden patients and those eligible for assistance. It is believed that there are about 8 lakh bedridden patients in the state.

Caregivers being made ineligible for benefits in name of annual salary of patient's family
1. The government brought a condition that if the annual salary of the family of the bedridden patient is above Rs 1 lakh, the caregiver of the patient is not eligible for the benefit. In this way, the caregiver will become ineligible for the benefit if one member of a five-member family earns a daily income of Rs 300. There is criticism that this is unfair.

2. Benefit will be denied to the caregiver if the medical board certificate mentions that it is temporary or it must be renewed after a fixed period. This is a threat to the beneficiaries.

Those who are eligible for the benefit
Money will be allocated to those who are taking care of individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, severe mental illness, bedridden due to advanced age, 100% blindness, and mental retardation.

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