Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday announced that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be eligible for the old age pension from the age of 50 years, not 60 years.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader made the announcement at an event held in Ranchi to mark the completion of four years of his government in the state.

“The government has decided to provide pension benefits to Adivasis and Dalits when they turn 50,” Soren announced. “The death rate among them is high and they do not get jobs after 60 years of age. It will be especially beneficial to the endangered particularly vulnerable tribal groups in the state.”

The chief minister claimed that in the 20 years after the state of Jharkhand was formed in 2000, only 16 lakh persons had received pension benefits. However, under his government, the number of pension beneficiaries increased to 36 lakh, he said.

Soren on Friday also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of 343 projects worth Rs 4,547 crore on the occasion.

He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of creating hurdles in providing government jobs to young persons in the state.

However, he said that around 7,000 appointment letters for government jobs were distributed during the event. “Recruitments against 45,000 vacancies are also underway,” he said, reported PTI.