A group of 10 nuns from St. Anne’s Convent in Muttada, Kerala, has submitted an application asking for pension meant for unmarried women above 50. The city corporation’s standing committee has sought advice from the state government to resolve the issue.
Sister Agnes from the group told TOI that they had submitted the application because they want pension to fend for themselves. “All of us are aged above 60 and some of us are nursing various ailments and we are finding it hard to find money even to purchase medicines,” she said.
Sister Agnes works in a social center. Her meagre income is not sufficient to make ends meet.
The nuns have asked for a monthly pension amount of Rs 1,100. It is normally given to women who are not able to marry due to circumstances. According to a report, however, it has been observed that these nuns have voluntarily chosen to stay unmarried. Their marital status doesn’t have much to do with their circumstances.
“The government orders on welfare pension do not state clearly if nuns could be given welfare pension. We have sought a clarification from the state government. A decision cannot be taken independently as it could have financial implications,” said Geetha Gopal, chairperson, welfare standing committee. She added that they will have to seek the government’s help as adding new category in the pension scheme is out of their jurisdiction.
The church is home to 20 such nuns. Sister Agnes mentioned that the church fails to lend any financial assistance to them, which compels them to work outside and earn.
Finance minister Thomas Isaac clarified, saying that there is no separate welfare pension for this category as of now. He added that the welfare pension being asked for is meant for BPL families and the amount is Rs 300 only.
The state government is yet to take a decision on this matter.
Image credit: Indian Express
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