New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Thousands of people held a peaceful protest here Wednesday demanding universal pension coverage and condemned the government's lack of empathy with the problems of crores of elderly suffering in poverty.
The 'dharna' was organised at Jantar Mantar here by Pension Parishad, a conglomeration of organisations working for pension reform, to protest the central government's failure to frame a universal pension scheme.
The protestors demanded that all people over the age of 60 be covered by a pension scheme of at least Rs.2,000 a month, or half of the minimum wage, whichever is higher.
They also demanded that the discrimination between below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) be removed immediately.
"How can I support a family of 11 people with a wage of barely Rs.100 a day? Without the government's support, elderly people like myself cannot make both ends meet," said Lungar Singh, a 70-year-old farmer from Rajasthan.
Social activists Baba Adhav, Aruna Roy, Communist Party India (CPI) general secretary Sudhakar Reddy and economist Praveen Jha also joined the protest.