Silver Inning Foundation has come up with a manifesto of senior citizens, which underlines the urgency of formation of a Ministry for the Elderly: “There is a ministry for women, children, environment, but no ministry for senior citizens, who represent 7.5 per cent of the population. Currently, the elderly are just part of the overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.”
Implementation of National Policy of the Older Persons (NPOP) is another neglected area, says the NGO. Though declared a decade ago, most state governments have not formed the state policy as per NPOP.
Supporting the manifesto, city-based Janseva Foundation chairman Dr Vinod Shaha said, “Though the government recognises problems of senior citizens like health, shelter, protection and transport, it has not succeeded in solving them. The election is a good opportunity to reach out to candidates and convey the genuine issues related to the elderly. A separate ministry is essential.”
Sitting MP and Congress candidate Suresh Kalmadi has assured that he will interact with senior citizens on April 12, he added.
University of Pune’s Department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension during its survey of status of senior citizens conducted last year in the city also appealed to the elderly to execute voting rights to fulfill their demands. “Senior citizens comprise over eleven per cent of the city’s population that can be a substantial pressure group to change the government’s attitude towards their problems,” said head of the department Dr Bharat Jethithor.