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Friday, January 21, 2011

Meeting and Submission of Memorandum to MP Priya Dutt on Behalf of Senior Citizens

On 20th Jan 2011 a delegation of Joint Action Committee of Senior Citizens Maharashtra consisting Dr.S.Kinjawadekar,Mr.Vijay Aundhe, Mr.Kaka Samant and Mr.Sailesh Mishra met young and dynamic MP Priya Dutt. On behalf of all Senior Citizens and JAC we submitted her a Memorandum and had good discussion with her on issues related to Senior Citizens at National , State and Local level. Rubina and Ruchika from 1298 Senior Citizens Helpline were also present on this occasion.

Priya Dutt was receptive and gave patient hearing. She was particulary worried about Health and Financial condition of Elderly. She assured her support to the delegation and promised to take up the issue in Parliament and also address the same in state and local municipal corporation.

Following is the copy of Memorandum:

Date 20th Jan 2011

Priya Duttji (MP)
Mumbai. India.

Dear Priya Duttji,
On behalf of Joint Action Committee of Organization working for Senior Citizens in Maharashtra we would like to thank you for Inviting us for discussion on various issues related to Senior Citizens and Central / State government role in addressing such issues.

For more then 12 (twelve) years there is gross neglect by Government of India and State Government for various issue and problems of Senior Citizens. You will agree with the fact that elders have waited for years on end to get attention from our rulers but all that we have received is indifference towards our issues. While we are keen to play our role in the development of our Country and the activities for the welfare of community, we also demand that our concerns must be addressed.

During these 12 years the world has changed, there has been significant demography change in India's population due globalization and improved medical facility and lifestyle. The fall of joint family system and rise in nuclear family system has brought new dimension to the care and welfare of Elderly. Population of people above 60 years of age is estimated to be 96 million in 2010.The Life span has increased by 60% in 60 yrs. India has today second largest population of Senior Citizens. There is sharp increase in population of Young Old 60yrs to 69 yrs and Old old 80+. Due to this demand and needs of various age groups have changed. Now it is time for civil society and government to rethink their strategy to address the needs of Senior Citizens.

After 63 years of Independence and democracy experiment there are segments of people who are not treated at par with others, there is injustice and discrimination towards them. One of the most neglected and ignored segment is of Senior Citizens. Elders are not considered as part of mainstream, there is unjust treatment to those who gain 60 years of age, and they are suddenly considered ‘Retired’, good for nothing. Government and Civil Society are not bothered of this experienced and skill group of people.

The Indian subcontinent boasts of our ‘Great Joint Family’ ‘The Traditional Family’ System where we used to respect, care and love our elders, our parents. Due to Globalization and New lifestyle there is increasing number of Abuse, Neglect and Abandon case with regards to Senior Citizens. The gradual Urbanization of Rural India is also a new trend to worry.

You must be aware that on 16th August 2010 to address various issues of Senior Citizens a National Protest Day was observed by all Senior Citizens organizations and Senior Citizens themselves. This was historic occasion where all the organization working for Elderly came under one umbrella to protest against continuous neglect by both central and state government.

All over India and in Maharashtra protest rally and march was observed in places like Mumbai ,Pune, Palghar , Nasik ,Thane ,Navi Mumbai , Nagpur , Kalyan Dombivali, Mira Bhayandar etc

In Mumbai around 2000 Senior Citizens assembled at Azad Maidan at 2pm on 16th August to raise their concern with government authority. We were grateful that Shri Sachin Ahir State minister for MSJ met the delegation and accepted the memorandum. He gave patient hearing and appreciated our effort as united forum for Elder Right. He accepted most of our demand in principal including the formation of Senior Citizens commissionrate. He also asked Shri J.N. Rathod Dy. Secretary to call an urgent meet and discuss various issues including implementation of NPOP and Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act. He also assured us for arranging bigger meeting with Hon Minister Shri Shivajirao Moghe and Principal Secretary to take decision on all pending matters.

As advised by Hon. Minister Shri Sachin Ahir a meeting of JAC was conveyed by Shri J.N. Rathod Dy. Secretary on 20th August. In this meeting Shri J.N. Rathod and Mrs.V.M.Bharose under Secretary extended their full cooperation and assured us of action plan. They informed us that for NPOP they will moved the Draft policy submitted by us as it is to Cabinet for approval and as they could not get replies from other departments. With regards to Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act we were informed that Rules had been notified in June 2010 but the implementation and formation of Tribunals is pending with Law and Revenue department respectively. They also promised to call for bigger meeting in 15 days for more discussion.

Further the delegation of JAC was also called for meeting with Governor of Maharashtra Shri K. Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on 7th Sep 2010. The Governor assured the delegation that he would take up the issues raised by the delegation with the Chief Minister.

On request by Governor on 17th Sep 2010 Shri Satish M. Gavai , then Principal Secretary ,Social Justice, Special Assistance,Government of Maharashtra called the meeting of Joint Action Committee and promised to get approve the draft NPOP with the cabinet and implement the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act immediately.

It’s also to be noted that delegation of AISCCON annual conference in Oct 2010met Shrimati Sonia Gandhi and she assured separate National Commission for Senior Citizens.

But we are disappointed that till date not much has been done by state and central government.

Following are our Major Demand:

• Uniform Age of 60 yrs
• Health insurance for all Senior Citizens (BPL & APL) without any age related restriction or that due to pre existing health condition.
• Immediate implementation of the existing NPOP (National Policy on Older Person) with budgetary support and not to postpone it till the reviewed / revised Policy is ready.
• NPOP should be passed by cabinet and parliament and made an ACT
• Immediate implementation of the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act all over the Country.
• Formation of National and State Level Senior Citizens council with representation of all the organization working with Elderly
• Cover all BPL and resident of Old Age Homes including the terminally ill under fully subsidized health insurance and pay those eligible the Old Age Pension.
• Truthful and honest implementation of the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme all over the Country and payment of pension as per current inflation rates. Minimum age for qualification should be 60yrs
• Implement the rights of the elderly citizens as enunciated in the Constitution of India and establish a unified governance structure to implement the rights.
• 50% concession in Railway and State Bus fares for all Senior Citizens.
• Provision of Multi-service Centers / day Care centers , Dementia Day centers in each city, town and large village with facilities of recreation, games and news papers etc.
• Speedy, time-bound disposal of legal cases and other matters relating to Senior Citizens, Fast Track court could be an option
• Early setting up of the promised National Institutes of Research on Aging and development of affordable Assistive Devices and courses in Medical Colleges in Gerontology and Geriatrics
• Exclusive Ministry and National Commission for Older Persons at the Centre.
• As India is Signatory to UN ‘Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002’ implement/adopt all the principals of Madrid plan in NPOP (National Policy of Older Person).
• Comprehensive Dementia & Alzheimer’s policy
• Increase participation of NGO’s and Organization working with Elderly
• Special attention to Rural Elderly, Tribal Elderly, Transgender Elderly , Destitute Elderly, Women Elderly and 80 + population

We wish to point out that senior citizens comprise of 9% of the total population, 13% of the electorate and if you consider those who actually go for polling we are 20% of effective electorate. You would agree, that no government can continue to ignore us for decades at a stretch.

We hope your good office will take due note of our demands and subsequent meetings & assurances given by government of Maharashtra after 16th August. We also request your intervention with regards to NPOP with central government.

We hereby demand immediate Declaration and implementation of State Policy on Senior Citizens (NPOP), immediate Implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act & other demands raised by us with the ministry at central and state level.

Your positive and proactive approach will help our Elderly to live in peace, security and dignity.

Yours Sincerely,

On Behalf of Joint Action Committee, Maharashtra/Mumbai:

Dr.S.P.Kinjawadekar - President, AISCCON
Mr.Vijay Aundhe - Gen Secretary,FESCOM (Mumbai)
Mr.Kaka Saamant - General Insurance Pensioners, All India Federation
Mr.Sailesh Mishra (JAC Coordinator)-President, Silver Inning Foundation

1. Memorandum submitted to Prime Minister dt. 18th July 2010
2. Memorandum submitted to CM/Sachin Ahir dt 16th August 2010
3. Letter dated 18th August 2010 to Shri Sachin Ahir
4. Press Release by Rajbhavan dated 7th Sep 2010
5. Letter to Shri Satish Gavai, Prin. Sec., Social Justice, Maha. Govt. dt 17th Sep 2010
6. Letter to Railway Minister dt 10th Jan 2011
7. Letter to Finance Minister dt 10th Jan 2011
8. Letter to Shri Mukul Wasnik , Hon.Minister MOSJE , Govt. of India dt 24th April 2010
9. List of JAC member organizations
10. Copy of Approach paper recommendation to Planning Commission of India for 12th five year plan

Senior Citizens National Protest Day, Mumbai/Maharashtra Supporting Organization 16th August 2010:

3. International Longevity Center - India
4. Silver Inning Foundation
5. Harmony for Silvers Foundation
6. Shree Ramanugrah Trust
7. GIC Pensioners Association
8. The Family Welfare Agency
9. General Insurance Pensioners, All India Federation
10. Brihan Mumbai Pensioners Association
11. All India Bank Retirees Federation
12. Jeevan Adhar Seva Sanstha
13. Dignity Foundation
14. Help Age India
15. Indian Federation of Ageing
16. All India Retired Reserve Bank Employee Association
17. MTNL Pensioners Workers Associations
18. All India Central Government Pensioners Association
19. Brihan Mumbai Retired Employees Association
20. All India Retired Insurance Employees Federation
21. Alzheimer’s Related Disorder Society of India (ARDSI) , Greater Mumbai Chapter
22. Center for Life Long Learning , TISS
23. 1298 Senior Citizens Helpline


Sugan Bhatia said...

Congratulations. It is a good piece of work. We need to work towards a situation whereby the issue could be raised in the Parliament. The Policy Review Committee is a Departmental Committee of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment; 9 percent of the country's population cannot be looked after by a Departmental Committee. The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has not done much for the last Policy brought in 1999; what can one expect from it for the next ten years of so. Nothing has been done to empower the senior citizens; in fact, not much has been done even for the welfare of the senior citizens. The Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance have done much more comparatively speaking.

Senior Citizens today suffer from both dispossession and abandonment, more so in rural areas, though the situation is no rosier in the urban areas. The family, neighbourhood and community have experienced added vulnerability due to both culture-led constraints and the economic policies that have encouraged large scale migration of the younger manpower from the villages to the cities and from the cities to the distant lands. There are more "older people alone" families than ever before. The National Social Assistance Programme is far too miniscule to be able to address the widening dimensions of tragegy.

The Policy Review Committee suffered from both the dimensions of skewed membership and loaded nuances. In a four-member committee, one suffered from legitimate doubts of exploiting a senior citizen while the other represented the hospital-owners lobby. The vested interests were thus pitted against the concerns of the senior citizens. The Private Healthcare Industry continues to exploit the senior citizens in collusion with the Healthcare Insurance Companies while the state-supported Healthcare continues to withdraw from its societal obligations to the vulnerable senior citizens.

Issues like dementia, alzheimer's, palliative care, terminal care, etc. continue to be ignored. We need a situation whereby 9 to 10 MPs cutting across Party lines raise the issue in the Parliament through a Calling Attention Motion to debate the issue as to whether the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is really competent to respond to the needs and aspirations of the senior citizens. It is about time that the country has a separate Ministry of Senior Citizens along with a National Commission for Senior Citizens with investigative and redressal powers. A forceful demand was made in a recent meeting convened by the National Human Rights Commission to investigate large scale violation of human rights of older persons, particularly those in the rural areas and living below the poverty line. The NHRC has promised to convene a Core Group meeting on the Elderly through the good offices of one of its members - Shri PC Sharma.

Share it with more friends so that we can create a wave of rights, not doles or charity, for senior citizens.

Sugan Bhatia

Senior Planning said...

Congratulations. This program or activity is amazing, giving time and importance for our senior citizen it make them fell how important they are in our community .Really a big day for them.

senior ltc options said...

This meeting is a great start, the perfect place to hear out the requests of senior citizens. But as you take a closer look, it's not really a request but the rights of seniors. I just hope that this meeting can result into something concrete, something that seniors would benefit from. Both parties can meet halfway and reach an agreement regarding the benefits that will be given.

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