As the current month draws to a close, the election campaign in Andhra Pradesh is again drifting towards the disbursal of welfare pensions on May 1, 2024.

With the State assembly and the Lok Sabha polls less than three weeks away (scheduled to be held on May 13), all political parties are trying to make mileage out of the issue of pension disbursal as it could impact voter behaviour. 

As part of the Navaratna welfare schemes introduced by the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the State government disburses nearly ₹2,000 crore in pensions to the 65 lakh beneficiaries across the State. The task has been entrusted to 2.40 lakh volunteers attached to village and ward secretariats, who will disburse them at their doorsteps. 

However, acting on a complaint, the Election Commission on March 30, 2024, directed the State Government to keep the village and ward volunteers away from the distribution of pensions to senior citizens at their doorstep in the wake of the model code of conduct for ensuing elections.

As the State Government disbursed pensions at the village secretariats in April first week, at least two senior citizens were reported to have succumbed to the heat wave while waiting for their pensions, though there is no official confirmation about their deaths. 


As this will be the last pension disbursal before the elections, both the ruling party and opposition are locking horns over the issue. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president, N Chandrababu Naidu, demanded the distribution of pensions at home, while the YSRCP accused Naidu of instigating the EC directive to halt the disbursal of pensions at home. 

According to a senior official, the government is now gearing up to distribute pensions through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to avoid trouble to the senior citizens. For those who are sick and physically challenged, the village/ward secretariat staff will be engaged to facilitate pension payments. In addition, 10,814 special disbursal centres are being set up in State government offices to assist in disbursal, which will take place from May 1-5, 2024. 

It remains to be seen how the issue of pension disbursal is going to impact the voting patterns on May 13 in the State.