The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who has a controversial involvement in the draconian emergency has now sought to deny the pensions to those people who were detained during the Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR).
According to the reports, CM Kamal Nath is set to introduce a proposal that will change the existing scheme of providing pensions to detainees during the Emergency. Under the Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan Samman Nidhi Niyam, nearly 2,000 people jailed during the Emergency get a monthly pension of Rs 25,000.
Kamal Nath, who was inducted by Sanjay Gandhi during the emergency days had allegedly a part of his inner circle during the Emergency from 1975-77. The proposal to end the pensions to the detainees during the emergency is being seen as a political vendetta of the Congress party against those people who opposed the Congress during the emergency.
The new MP government has now issued a circular, dated December 29, 2018, ordering all divisional commissioners and district collectors that the process to distribute the honorarium needs to be changed to make it “accurate and transparent”. According to the order, separate guidelines will be sent for physical verification of all beneficiaries.
The circular reportedly cites CAG reports claiming that the previous BJP government had spent more money than the allocated budget. It further says the department concerned finds it difficult to explain the anomaly to the Public Accounts Committee. The circular further says that the existing legislation has to be presented before the floor of the assembly in order to address the issue of more expenditure than the budgetary allocation.
Kailash Soni, BJP Rajya Sabha MP said that more than 300 widows are present in the list of 2000-odd beneficiaries, who receive half of their husband’s pension. He further claimed that he has not come across any irregularities relating to the scheme as suggested by the CAG. He added that the scheme cannot be scrapped or tinkered with by administrative order.
“If any such illegality is committed we will challenge it in court, There are no fake beneficiaries. In fact, the number has come down from the initial 2400-odd to 2,000 which proves that the process is accurate,’’ he said. “Those who went to jail during the Emergency ensured that democracy was restored in the country and elections conducted. Kamal Nath himself is a beneficiary of that battle,’’ Soni added.
Shivraj Singh Chauhan during his tenure as the Chief Minister in 2008 had introduced the scheme and had equated the detainees under MISA and DIR with freedom fighters. The initial honorarium of Rs 6,000, to those who spent at least six months in jail. The scheme was amended several times. At present, anyone who had spent more than a month in jail during the Emergency was obtaining Rs 25,000 a month.
Kamal Nath also created a massive controversy after the Congress government in the state has cancelled a 13-year old tradition of singing Vande Mataram in Mantralaya on the first day of every month. CM Kamal Nath stated that the order to sing Vande Mataram has been put on hold and a new form of the order is being drafted.