Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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,

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