Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said this while inaugurating the Punjab Federation of Senior Citizens Association at Shivalik Public School auditorium in Phase VI, Badal, in Mohali on Saturday.
He said the proposed council will guide the government to prepare a comprehensive policy for the welfare of senior citizens, which was the most respectable section amongst the society.
Referring to the delayed payment of pensions, the CM said the government will soon create a dedicated fund of Rs 500 crore to enable the beneficiaries to get pension in time. He said the government has already initiated tie-ups with nationalised banks for disbursement of pension at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries.
Agreeing to the proposal of the Federation to depute a senior police officer of inspector general (IG) as a nodal officer at the state-level to look into the issues of senior citizens, especially related to their safety and personal security, the octogenarian CM ordered deputation of deputy inspector generals (DIGs) in their respective police ranges and superintendents of police (SPs) in the districts as nodal officers to ensure personal security of the elder persons.
He said Punjab was among the few states to adopt the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, to ensure social security to the senior citizens, who had been neglected by their children in the old age. He said rules under this Act would be notified shortly and reiterated that the Act would be enforced strictly.
He also announced that senior citizens would be given due representation in the district committees constituted for implementation of various development projects and welfare schemes. Apart from this, Badal declared to set up a day-care home for senior citizens in Sector 68, Mohali, besides an old age home over a two acre plot already allotted by GMADA in the district.
The CM assured he would soon convene a meeting of the representatives of the Federation to chalk out a strategy to further streamline the welfare schemes for senior citizens. He called upon senior citizens based in urban area to come forward for social service, especially in rural areas in the field of education, health and sanitation, as they had a rich and vast experience, from which the society could be immensely benefited.
He said talked of the state-of-the-art old age home at his native village Badal and invited the Federation to hold its next meeting there.
On the occasion, he unveiled the logo of federation and released its maiden souvenir dedicated to the founder chairman of Punjab State Senior Citizens Association and former Chief Secretary of Punjab late.
By P S Vaishnav
31st Jan 2010