The government's 60-year age limit has put many members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Nalgonda district in difficulties, as have those who lied about their age to acquire Aasara scheme benefits.
The state government approved old age pensions to help elderly people who were unable to work owing to age-related issues. By changing their age in their Aadhaar cards, a few people, including women, are able to receive old age pensions.
After hearing numerous complaints, the state administration decided to set a 60-year-old age limit for members of Women Self Help Groups. Even those who changed their age for pensions have had challenges as a result of this decision.
SHGs have played an important part in women's empowerment. However, the new restriction of a 60-year age limit has resulted in younger women losing their eligibility for Aasara pensions since they purposefully increased their age in their Aadhaar cards.
The government's decision has sent shockwaves across self-help groups, and the anguish of under-aged women members of SHGs who are receiving old-age pensions is indescribable.
Following the government's directive, officials in the district are preparing to implement a 60-year age limit for members of SHG groups in order to make it easier for new qualified women to join SHG groups in place of ineligibles.
In the former Nalgonda district, there are 8,21, 485 members in 79, 923 women's clubs. SHGs have been given loans ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh based on their eligibility and track record. As part of women's empowerment, it has also provided pavala interest loans with bank connection and Stree Nidhi personal loans. Officials will remove members who reach the age of 60 from the organisations, as the government has set an age limit for SHG members.
Officials from the DRDO are using Aadhaar cards to collect information from members of SHGs, as directed by the government. If the old women stay in the groupings, they will not be able to secure a loan. Members of SHG groups have expressed their displeasure with the removal of elderly members from groups with an age limit.