Tuesday, June 28, 2011

World Elder Abuse Day-Letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra to stop Abuse of Senior Citizens of Maharashtra.

M.V.Ruparelia, A503 RashmiUtsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park, Mira Road (East), Dist. Thane.401 107. M. 09821732855. E/Mail: mvrup@yahoo.co.in
To                                                                                                               Date. 14-6-11.
Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032.
Respected Sir,
Sub: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day-15-6-11.
1.      Our Culture respects our Elders and Our Governments at Centre & State/UTs level are led by Elderly Statesmen like Sincere & Honest Shri Manmohan Singh and many others young, honest & energetic like you. Senior Citizens of our State have high hopes from You and they expect that You will look after their interest & welfare.
2.       !5-6-2011 is the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) declared by United Nations.  According to the INPEA, Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship, where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. It can be of various forms-physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial or simply reflect intentional or unintentional neglect. Elder Abuse is a violation of Human Rights and a significant cause of injury, illness, loss of productivity, isolation & despair. Confronting & reducing Elder Abuse requires a multispectral & multidisciplinary approach.
3.     Government of India had declared a comprehensive National Policy of Older Persons in 1999 for welfare of Senior Citizens and States/UTs were expected to take immediate action on various provisions. You will be surprised to know that Our Most Progressive, Prosperous & Highest Tax Collector State has not adopted, accepted and notified the State Policy even after 12 FULL YEARS. This is nothing but Deplorable Abuse of Elders of Maharashtra in light of INPEA`s above definition! UNO has also started taking stock of implementation by various Governments of their directives given in their United Nation International Plan of Action adopted by all Countries in Madrid in 2002. The well-being of senior citizens is also mandated in the Constitution of India under Article 41. On this August Day, we request You to get the notification of State Policy expedited.
4.      Even in absence of notification of State Policy, the following actions can be taken by the State Government for welfare of their Elders:-
(i)                Celebrating International Day of Older Persons (IDOP):  It is observed that this Day is neither observed by State nor by Panchayati Raj & Municipal Bodies in Maharashtra inspite of repeated instructions from Nodal Ministry every year. It has been advised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi in reply to my recent Application under RTI that this year also, they had issued instructions under their directive under no. 15-39 (12)/09-10/AGII dt 3-9-10 that these programmes should be organized with active involvement of Sr citizens, Panchayati Raj & Municipal Bodies etc. On enquiries from BMC & MBMC, it is given to understand that they are having no specific instructions from your side.  Kindly issue proper detailed instructions to all concerned including all your departments and local bodies to celebrate this International Day to respect Elders of Maharashtra without waiting for notification of State Policy and instructions may be repeated every year sufficiently in advance. Similar instructions for celebrating ``World Awareness Day of Abuse of Older Persons`` on 15th June may also be issued. These celebrations will create proper atmosphere of Respect for Elders in the Society.

(ii)             Vayoshestha Sanmans:  Nodal Ministry has given a list of 10 Sanmans given by them every year, which they give in celebration of IDOP. Our State should also give similar Sanmans at State/District/Panchayat-Municipal levels.

(iii)           Integrated Programmes for Older Persons (IPOP)- Revised Scheme effective from 1-4-2008: Nodal Ministry has advised that as against National Allocation  to Maharashtra for this purpose in year 2008-09 of Rs 150 lakhs, only Rs 49.92 and against NA for 2009-10 of Rs 75 lakhs, only Rs 47.07 were released as per State Demand.  Para 6 of the Revised Scheme has made Panchayati Raj Institutions & Local Bodies as main implementing Agencies. No instructions having been issued to these agencies, BMC & MBMT are refusing to take action and insist on State Instructions. Kindly make out a time bound programme for each Panchayat & Municipal Units to provide these schemes in each ward within a year or two, as 90% of recurring & non-recurring expenditure will be borne by Ministry of Social Justice, Delhi. Planning Commission has been requested to provide sufficient funds for these very useful schemes.

(iv)           Involve Panchayati Raj Institutions & Municipalities For Welfare of Senior Citizens: Panchayati Raj Institutions (and Local Bodies) are to be encouraged to initiate & participate in all schemes of Welfare of Elders, address local level issues & needs of the ageing population and implement programmes for them. They will provide Forums for discussing concerns of Older Persons & Activities that need to be taken. Such Forums will be encouraged at Panchayat, Municipal, Block & District level. They will have adequate representation of older women. Panchayat will mobilize the talents & skills of older persons & draw up plans for utilizing these at local level. Kindly issue necessary instructions to all Local Bodies and monitor the progress, as this will lead to real welfare of Elders of Maharashtra.

(v)             Instructions to our Media, Trusts, Charitable Hospitals/State & Municipal Hospitals , NGOs , Civic Authorities etc:  Kindly issue necessary instructions to all Stake Holders in Maharashtra for looking after the welfare of Elders, so that they start doing their work, which may lead to our Elders leading dignified life during their last spell of life. Arrangements may please be made to obtain details of all Registered Associations/Organizations working for senior Citizens, if necessary, from Charity Commissioner or as available in Karmayog & other Web Sites or by inviting information from organizations and issue instructions to all Departments to endorse copy of all circulars/instructions affecting elders to Federations/State level Organizations. Similar  to all Departments to endorse copy of all circulars/instructions affecting elders to Federations/State level Organizations. Similar list should be available with each Panchayat/ Municipality & each Ward Officer for their jurisdiction. State & Local Bodies should call for Meetings, Seminars etc for inter action with elders periodically.
Just as Director (Ageing) is working as Nodal Officer in Ministry of S.J. & E. at Centre, a Nodal Officer at State level may be nominated to deal with all representations/matters pertaining to Senior Citizens.

(vi)           Annual Report of work done in the State for its Elders: At present any good work done for Elders by State is not known to large number of Senior Citizens. An annual report for all work done for Elders in the State should be prepared and brought out in Media on every International Day for Older Persons. This will not only monitor various actions by all authorities but boost morale of Elders of Maharashtra.
(All these vi items were represented to Principal Secretary vide my letter dt 30-12-10 followed by reminders but no action is taken even after 5 months!).
(vii)          Transport Concessions to Senior Citizens:   As per Memorandum issued by Home Department under no. kra.STC-1998/667/pra.ka.36/pari.1 dt 25-10-2000, 50% concession in fares for travelling in MSRTC buses is given to all Senior Citizens of 65 years and above. It is experienced by Senior Citizens of Maharashtra as well as other States coming to Maharashtra that Conductors insist on production of Identity Card issued by State of Maharashtra and do not accept other Identity Cards issued by other States or Central Government Departments, PAN cards, Passports etc. Any photo-identity card issued by any Public Authority including local authorities should be sufficient to get this concession. We shall be grateful, if proper instructions with liberal provisions are got issued very early. We would also request you to consider earmarking of more seats in ST buses for Senior Citizens, as recently done by BEST and to give free or 90% concession to female Senior Citizens, especially widows and above 80 years.  Present age limit of 65 for this concession may also be reduced to 60, as accepted by Finance Ministry for Tax Exemption from 1-4-11, as all Senior Citizens deserve similar treatment in view of less income after retirement.  General Managers of Local Suburban Railway trains should be approached by State and made to realize the need for separate coach for Senior Citizens, as they are more handicapped than medically certified handicaps and Ladies. Some seats in First Class Coaches should be got reserved.
(viii)      Medical Treatment in Municipal Hospitals in Mumbai:  As per State GR no. 2006/navi-20 dt 12-12-06, free treatment is to be given to all Senior Citizens in all Municipal Hospitals. All Hospitals, except 3 major Hospitals of Nair, KEM & Sion have given in writing that they are giving free treatment to all Senior Citizens. These 3 major Hospitals are defying the State Orders for last 5 years and do not give free treatment to Senior Citizens. You may kindly use your good offices and help your Elders.
(ix)           Free Movement of Rickshaws in entire MMRDA Area:  As per Notification in Extraordinary State Gazette dt 25-2-08, all Rickshaws & taxies were allowed to ply in entire MMRDA area but these orders are not yet implemented even after 3 years for rickshaws, resulting in Senior Citizens and all citizens have to walk with luggage/heavy school bags at all check nakas for change over from one side Rickshaws to other side Rickshaws. In Mira Road- Bhayander Area, Rickshaws are not running on meters and they charge exorbitant rates for even short distance e.g. from Checknaka to Shrusti area- distance of less than 1.6 km, Rs 40 is charged. Kindly, use your good offices and get these genuine grievances solved.
(x)              Maintenance & Welfare of parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2010:  In the recently notified Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act in extraordinary Gazette dt 23-6-10, important provisions of the Central Act, 2007 in respect of Medical Support for Senior Citizens (Section 20) and Transfer of property to be void in certain circumstances (Section 23) are omitted. These are very important provisions for Senior Citizens and may kindly be got added.
(xi)           Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension:  Out of more than 9 lakh Senior Citizens in Maharashtra, there are 3.33 lakhs BPL Senior Citizens but beneficiaries for Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension, Shravan bal Seva Rajya Nivruti Vetan Yojna: and Rashtriya Bima Yojna are very much less, especially in Urban Areas, due to proper action not being taken by Revenue Department to classify them as BPL or registering them under Sravanbal Yojna. Kindly get some instructions issued to Tehsildars, Municipal Authorities etc and concerned officers to get this done early and properly.(Items vii to xi were represented to Home Minister by name under my letter dt 22-8-10 followed by several reminders but no action is taken even after 9 months!).
(xii)         Web Site for Senior Citizens: There is a necessity of separate Web Site for Senior Citizens of Maharashtra, as present State Web Site is cumbersome and difficult to get information easily.

We request you earnestly to consider these aspects sympathetically and take prompt & proper action very early.

 A line in reply in terms of para 66 of Office Manual will be very much appreciated.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely

Copy forwarded to:-
1.      Shri R.R.Patil, Minister of Home Affairs, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032.
2.      Shri Shivaji Rao  Moghe, Minister of Social Justice, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032.
3.      Shri Sunil Tatkare, Minister of Finance, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032.
4.      Shri Sachin Mohan Ahir, State Minister of Social Justice, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032.

National Policy for Senior Citizens, 2011.

M.V.Ruparelia, A503 Rashmi Utsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park, Mira Road(East) Dist. Thane. 401107.
M. 09821732855. E/Mail: mvrup@yahoo.co.in
To                                                                                             Date: 25-6-11.
Shri K.M.Acharya, Secretary,
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment,
Government of India, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110001.
Dear Sir,
Sub: Reviewing the National Policy of Older Persons, 1999/ National Policy for Senior Citizens, 2011.
It is given to understand by Shri Wasnikji, Hon. Minister during the discussions with Shri R.N.Mital, our President of AISCCON on 9-6-11 that National Policy for Senior Citizens, 2011 will be finalized during this month and any suggestions/comments sent before the end of this month shall be considered.
2 . It is observed from Draft Recommendations, as available on Help Age Web Site that the Committee has not given recommendations as required in terms of reference to the Committee, which were as under and has omitted many important provisions of existing NPOP, 99 to the disadvantage of Senior Citizens:
i)        To assess the present status of various issues concerning senior citizens in general, and implementation of NPOP, 1999, in particular, and
ii)      To draft a new National Policy on Older Persons, keeping in view the emerging trends in demographic, socio-economic, technological and other relevant fields.
iii)    To submit the new draft policy to the government by 31 May 2010.
3. Though the present Status of various issues of the Policy, 99 are not brought out, lots of efforts have been put in by Review Committee in making out New Policy. As many important provisions are  omitted, it may be better, if  name of the Policy may continue to be ``Reviewed National Policy for Senior Citizens, 1999`` or , a sentence may be added that NPOP, 99 shall remain effective as a base for this National Policy for Senior Citizens, 2011 (NPSC, 11). This will remind all Ministries & all Stake Holders about their failure to implement the Policy for 12 years and make them more sincere & serious towards implementation.
4. The following suggestions on draft submitted by Committee may please be considered:
i) Continuous para number is desirable for easy reference. Draft appears at places like points and not a coherent whole. Many important aspects of existing policy are just omitted.
ii) Focus of New Policy: Good points are brought out but nothing is mentioned as to how this Focus shall be achieved:
a) Promotion & establishment of senior citizens associations is the first item of focus but provisions in the existing policy about NAOP are completely omitted. Provisions from existing Policy may please be added.
b) The thrust of Ageing in place is proposed to be preventive and not on cure. Emphasis in the policy has to be more on providing facilities for cure, as diseases in old age will prevail even after all the preventive efforts.
 C)  Provision of institutional care is proposed to be as a last resort and states are expected to provide assisted living facilities for only abandoned Senior Citizens (10). Whatever be the efforts to survive/revive the joint family system, institutional care facilities will be necessary for all categories and can not be for abandoned category only. Idea of adoption of grand parents by families, having no parents and both, husband & wife going for earning, may provide good relief and reduce necessity of assisted institutional care facilities. Incentives for such adoption may be provided.
d) Some steps to encourage Elder-friendly Society are required to be laid down.
e) Some avenues for providing equal opportunities for participation are required to be provided in policy. Linking BPL Senior Citizens here may not be proper, as they would be struggling for survival and can not be expected to participate in society! 
i)        Areas of intervention: a) Income Security: Provision is made for BPL only and not for APL. Policy must clearly lay down that IGNOAP is to be paid to all poor senior citizens below poverty line(certain income limit) and not to those belonging to BPL families only. Classifying a family as BPL is a complicated method adopted by Ministry of R.D. and has resulted in depriving large number of poor senior citizens, especially in urban areas. There is no necessity of classifying senior citizens as belonging to BPL Family and this meager pension should be given to all senior citizens having income less than a fixed ceiling. This should be laid down in NPSC, 11. Amount being given is a mockery of Human beings and sufficiently higher amount should be laid down in Policy itself. This work should be transferred to Ministry of S J & E.
 b) Public Distribution system also must provide for APL.  
ii)       Health Care: ix) Why Public- Private Partnership for Rural areas only? Provide for Urban areas also. xii) Health Care Fund: In addition to contributions of citizens, let there be mention of contribution by Central & state Governments also.  xx) Appears vague. Have clear provision for subsidy recommended by Shastri Committee & IRDA.
iii)     IV-Housing: Please, add all Housing Boards after `other schemes of the government` in the concluding sentence.
iv)     Para 27: Please, provide for separate coach like handicapped coach in suburban trains justifying that elders are more handicapped in entering & detraining in crowded trains, permitting elders to travel in Ladies Specials by earmarking one coach in such trains, providing at least 3 seats in Ist Class coaches of all suburban trains etc. Provide concessions in fares in suburban trains, buses, taxies, rickshaws, entertainment places, holiday homes of governments etc.
v)      Para 28: Keeping in view of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), PPP etc, provide concessions in rates of residential buildings on purchases as well as on rental from private builders, housing boards etc.
vi)     Productive Ageing: Please have proper provision for participation in various Advisory Committees of Government & Local Bodies and various promotional programmes with or without honorarium.
vii)   Important Provisions of existing Policy,99 appear to have been  omitted:-Paras 47 to 62. ii) Paras 70 & 71. iii) Paras 73, 77 & 78. iv) Paras 90 & 91. V) Paras 95, 97, 99. These may be provided.
viii)Those, who retired before Economy Boom i.e. prior to 1995, got very less Settlement Dues, had less savings due to less earnings etc and get reduced interest on their savings and find difficult to maintain the original or near about standard of living in the present inflation inflicted market. Special treatment to this segment by higher rate of interest or some subsidy may be provided in Policy Statement.
ix)    The following points may please be considered for inclusion in Policy:-
·         In NPS, it may be elaborated as to what Implementation Mechanisms are set and available.
·          In NPS, elaborate as to how National Resource (Senior Citizens) is proposed to be utilized and how reemployability will be brought & ensured.
x)      Add Every Old Age Home will admit & look after physically disabled Senior Citizens and make special arrangements for their movements to toilets etc, as necessary, as most of the existing
OAH refuse to admit such persons & restrict the admission to those, who can move about of their own.
xi)    Make a provision that each Employer, especially all Government Departments, Public Sector Undertakings & Corporate Bodies will look after their retired employees in all respects.
xii)  Add something for Reverse Mortgage Loan/Annuity for encouraging Senior Citizens to take advantage of the Scheme.
xiii)Provide for one slot of half an hour at least once a week on specified day & time for each TV Channel and minimum quarter page/a corner every day in all Newspapers for giving latest information/happenings of Senior Citizens.
I enclose copies of some letters on some important aspects to be provided in Policy for better appreciation of the requirements:-
i)                    No need to belong to BPL Family for IGNOAP: Letter dt 1-5-11 to Shri B.K.Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development.
ii)                  Integrated Programme by Local Bodies:            Letter dt 15-4-10 to Shri Mukul Wasnik, Hon Minister of S J & E.
iii)                Need for recognizing existing Associations of Senior Citizens, Separate Web Site & Celebrating World Elder Day etc:                          Letter dt 2-8-10 to Shri Mukul Wasnik, Hon Minister of S J & E.
iv)                Inclusion of all chronic diseases under Sec 80 DDB of Income Tax Act: Letter
dt 26-8-10 to Shri Pranav Mukherji, Finance Minister.
Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,