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Saturday, August 16, 2014

India: National Commission for elderly may soon be a reality

The ministry of social justice and welfare has proposed the formation
of a national commission for senior citizens to better protect the
rights of the elderly.

India's elderly population, 60 years and above, was close to 10.4
crore, according to the 2011 census. It is expected to touch 32 crore by
2050. The need for a senior citizens' commission is tremendous, say
activists, who have been demanding the formation of such a commission
since 2010. On February 7, a Parliamentary standing committee report had
recommended the formation of the commission for senior citizens.

The draft bill for the National Commission for Senior Citizens lists
the proposed commission's responsibilities. These involve looking into
matters of deprivation of senior citizens' rights, taking suo moto
cognisance of their human rights violations and making recommendations
to relevant authorities to take action. The proposed commission will
inspect old-age homes, prisons and remand homes to see if their rights
are being violated.

"While we already have a commission for children and another one for
women, the elderly, whose population is touching 12 crore, do not have a
commission. The proposal for forming a commission is a welcome move,"
said Dr Aabha Chaudhary, chairperson, Anugraha, a Delhi-based non-profit
for the elderly.

Anugraha is one of the 17 organisations and individuals to have
received an email, a copy of which is with dna, from the ministry of
social justice and welfare that contains the five-page draft bill. Among
the other recipients are Dignity Foundation, Tata Institute of Social
Sciences and HelpAge. The August 12 mail from the ministry's deputy
secretary Surendra Rawat, says, "You are requested to furnish your
comments/suggestions on the draft Bill by August 20 positively through
e-mail, failing which it will be presumed that you have no comments to

This has irked some activists who feel the draft bill should be
widely circulated for diverse opinions to help constitute a stronger
commission. For instance, the ministry has ignored one of the biggest
elderly confederations — All India Senior Citizens Confederation.
AISCCON has a membership of over 15 lakh senior citizens. Similarly,
members of the National Council of Senior Citizens, which was formed by
the Central government, too were left out of the consultation.

"All NGOs, federations, geriatricians, senior citizens, legal
professionals, women, youth should be consulted before the finalisation
of a draft bill," said Dr SP Kinjawadekar, ex-president, AISCCON. "We
never received any communication regarding the formation of the National
Commission from the ministry. Also eight days notice is too short for a
response. The dates should be extended."

Experts said that the commission should have teeth and all stake
holders should be consulted before it's formation. "While the number for
elder abuse cases are rising especially in the rural areas, the
Maintenance and Welfare Act for Senior Citizens, 2007 is yet to
percolate to the last person. A commission will define the roles to be
played by NGOs, police and the ministry and act as a nodal agency for
redress of complaints," said Sailesh Mishra, founder, Silver Inning

Courtesy: DNA    : http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-national-commission-for-elderly-may-soon-be-a-reality-2011104

National Commission for elderly may soon be a reality | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

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