An RTI reply has revealed that the Uttar Pradesh government in 2016-17 spent Rs 10.32 crore to give monthly pension of Rs 50,000 to 172 beneficiaries of the Yash Bharti Samman. The award is given to those who have excelled in fiels of films, sports, art, science and journalism.
Interestingly, the list of beneficiaries include prominent personalities like actor and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, his wife Nadira Raj Babbar, film makers Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj, cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohd Kaif, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, noted singer Kailesh Kher and comedian Raju Shrivastava.
Actor Rajpal Yadav, Amitabh Bachchan and his family have refused to take the pension. According to a Times of India report, RTI activist Mohd Khalid Jilani had filed an RTI saying that the government was wasting public money by giving pension to these celebrities.
Jilani had sought a list of beneficiaries who have been awarded with Yash Bharti Samman, one of the highest awards given by the UP government.
The UP government has state that 187 persons have been felicitated from 1994 to March, however, in 2016 64 persons received the award. Other prominent people who receive monthly pensions are film director Muzaffar Ali, singers Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Malini Awasthi and Anoop Jalota.
Apart from monthly pension, the recipient of the award gets Rs 11 lakh, a shawl and a citation. Started by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1994, Yash Bharti Samman was discontinued by Mayawati-led BSP government but Akhilesh Yadav resumed it in 2013. In October 2015, the Samajwadi Party government had announced that it will give monthly pension to awardees.