Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Education and Recognition of 12 crore Elders as Resource & Think-Tank of the Country.

To                                              Date: 24-7-12.
Shri Kapil Sibalji,
Hon. Minister for Human Resource Development,
Government of India, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi 110001.
Dear Sir, 
Sub:  Education and Recognition of 12 crore Elders as Resource & Think-Tank of the Country.
Ref: Various Provisions in National Policy of Older Persons, 1999.
1.      We are very much impressed by your enthusiastic actions in reforming the Education System and bringing RTE Act and monitoring the progress of Educational systems in the entire Country. You have taken several path breaking reforms in the education sector. The historic guarantee of the right to free elementary education became a reality under your stewardship. This enactment has the potential to unleash the latent energies of the children of India. Higher education has also seen a significant overhaul in its governance and regulatory structures. As the essence of Human Resource Development is education, which plays a significant and remedial role in balancing the socio-economic fabric of the Country, we, the Senior Citizens of the Country look towards you, one of us being 64, for taking very early suitable action to implement various provisions in NPOP, 99 pertaining to your Ministry for unleashing our potential for benefit of Society and Country.
2.      Para 93 of the Policy directs each Ministry to implement the aspects concerning them by preparing Five Year and Annual Action Plan with targets. Para 18 of the Policy envisages that age 60+ is a phase, when individual should have chances and opportunities to lead an active, creative, productive and satisfying life. For this, paras 55 to 58 of Policy lay down detailed guidelines and directives to meet the education, training and information needs of Elders. Open Universities are expected to develop packages using distance education learning techniques. Educational curriculums at all stages of formal and non-formal education have to incorporate material to strengthen inter-generational bonds etc.  Let Good Institutes open their doors and give as many facilities as possible to Senior Citizens for passing time usefully in their crucial phase of life. They will be useful to the Institute & the Society with their varied experience in various fields. No action appears to have been taken on these specific paras concerning your Ministry for last 13 years.
3.      Para 78 of Policy recognizes Senior Citizens as huge untapped resource for which facilities are to be made available to use their potentiality as per their choice. Special programmes are required to be designed, so that they can enrich and update their knowledge, integrate tradition with contemporary needs and transmit more effectively the Socio-Cultural heritage to school children and youths. As per para 81, programmes are to be developed to promote family values, sensitize the young on the necessity & desirability of inter-generational bonding and continuity of meeting filial obligations of children. As per para 83, Medical colleges and research institutions are required to set up centres of gerontology studies and geriatrics. An inter-disciplinary coordinating body with national status for research for gerontological issues, sensitization programmes on ageing etc is to be established. There are large number of paras in which your Ministry has to take initiative and take very early action.
4.      We request you to create vast avenues for useful utilization of this ever increasing vast resource of Senior Citizens as laid down in Policy. As you know, idle mind is devil`s workshop and having no such avenues for utilization, large number of Senior Citizens abuse themselves. A person retires from service, he feels he has done a lot and now deserves rest! He rests and does not remain active, resulting in deteriorating health & connected problems! He abuses himself!! He develops inertia of doing nothing. He feels, he need not waste his energy, which requires to be preserved at this age! He forgets that we have unlimited energy and even in active life, we have used a very small % of our energy. He forgets that majority of our Ministers are Senior Citizens working enthusiastically for welfare of masses. In old age also, we have unlimited energy and the Principle is ``USE IT OR LOOSE IT. As older persons constitute an ever-increasing proportion of the total population, they have the potential to become more influential politically, economically and socially. Fulfilling this potential would be in line with the objectives of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, which are to ensure that people age with security and dignity and continue to participate fully in their societies as citizens with full rights. We have to provide some honorary or paid work to all as per their qualification, inclination and timings etc. We have to lay down an humane Policy for utilization of very large portion of our citizens, who will be 20% of the population shortly by 2050 and if allowed to idle for long life of 30-40 years after retirement, there would be insurmountable problem for the Society & Country.
5.      We have large number of intelligent officers and staff in your Ministry and thinkers in the Country, who can suggest such avenues for utilization of our Elders. You may like to get their views and create a Policy with avenues for Elders. e.g. We can consider part time jobs like (i) monitoring some 5 schools by a senior citizen in his near about  area for moral lessons to students etc (ii) Appointments on Advisory Committees of Municipality, supervising civic facilities, gardens, gyms, temples, encroachment on footpaths etc (iii) Looking after welfare activities of Corporate Houses under CSR funds utilization (iv) Government programmes like teaching adults, street children, Family Planning, polio drops, drug abuse, respect for women, census, elections, help in law and order situations etc  (v) Visits to Hospitals, Old Men Homes. (vi) Counseling & helping needy Senior Citizens etc.
6.      With your dynamic personality & tact of handling all situations very efficiently, we are sure that you will do needful quickly, sincerely and set an example on all Ministries by becoming First to completely implementing National Policy concerning your Ministry.
7.      We request you to give us reply in terms of para 66 of Office Manual for this request, indicating your plan of action.
Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Expectation from New State Chief Information Commissioner, Maharashtra.

M.V.Ruparelia, A503 Rashmi Utsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park, Mira Road(East) Dist. Thane. 401107. M. 09821732855. E/
To                                                                      18-7-12.
Shri Ratnakar Gaikwad,
State  Information Commissioner, (Right To Information Act, 2005),
Maharashtra State, New Administrative Building, 13 th Floor, Opp. Mantralaya, 
Sub: Sincere Efforts by SCIC to improve the working of the Machinery of RTI in Maharashtra.
  1. We are very happy to read in Newspapers about your sincere efforts to improve the working of entire machinery of RTI in your office and all Public Authorities.
  2. Your 9 page directives to State Chief Secretary and other Public Authorities shall bring good results for Citizens of Maharashtra. To-day, no Public Authority bothers to give any simple information also even after orders of SIC. Non compliance of orders of SIC is like Contempt of Court but no Public Authority is afraid of contempt proceedings, as contempt proceedings are not being initiated by your office even after being pointed out and pursued by 10-15 reminders. This position is required to be remedied. We shall be thankful, if a copy of your directive to Public Authorities is sent to us. Annexure A indicating Public Interest Cases in which SIC`s Orders are not carried out is enclosed for suitable action.
  3. Your decision to give preference to Appeals seeking Public Interest Information and from Senior Citizens is a right decision very useful to Social Workers like us and will go a long way towards welfare of Citizens and Senior Citizens. Government machinery has gone to dogs and they take unduly long time to decide various matters pertaining to Public Interest.  Annexure B indicating Public Interest Cases pending since long is enclosed.
  4. Your Ministerial staff and officers also require to be counseled by you to take personal interest in the public interest matters. Letters fixing dates of Hearing by ordinary posts reach much after the date of hearing and in hurry of disposing of cases, injustice is done to the citizens and whatever is stated by the PIO is taken as correct. Annexure C indicating dates of receipts of your letters is enclosed.
  5. There is a tendency in some ICs to side the Public Authority and not the Citizen, when the entire RTI Act is for helping Citizens to get information and help the Government to streamline the working of Public Authorities. When such gross injustice is pointed out to SCIC, no action is taken even after several reminders! ICs do not give sufficient time and opportunity to Citizens to send rejoinder nor give Teleconference option for aged persons staying at faraway places like Mira Road, Kalyan etc for cases of Public Authority in Greater Mumbai. During Hearing, they do not offer even a glass of water to citizens coming from faraway places. E/Mails & phones should be used to inform the appellants well in advance and rejoinder called with permission to attend personally or through Teleconference.
  6. If reply to each letter/reminder is not possible, there should be some orders from your side to at least give some reply/indication to the citizen at least after 2-3 reminders atleast in cases of Public Interest cases from Senior Citizens. Replies to citizens using English/Hindi should be in that language. Cases of Senior Citizens staying at faraway places like Mira Road, Kalyan etc can be clubbed and one day, preferably in the afternoon keeping in view difficulties of travelling in morning peak hours should be fixed for as many cases as possible.
  7. Some ICs direct Ist Appellate Authorities to relook in the case and avoid/postpone their duty of dealing with IInd Appeals and thus delay the supply of information. Citizen comes to SIC after getting no/improper response from AA.
  8. Web Site of SIC, Maharashtra is not in proper shape even in Marathi. Even after more than a month of your taking over, names of earlier incumbents are continued in all information including under Sec 4 of the Act. Web Site of CIC, Delhi is very systematic and that pattern, if followed, will be very much liked by all. E/Mails of all SICs, Mumbai, Greater Mumbai & Navi Mumbai are not working for last several years and all messages sent on E/Mails given in Web Site are coming back with Failure Notice.

Kindly, do needful, as considered proper.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,


Annexure A- Cases of Non Compliance of Orders of SIC in Public Interest Cases:
1.      Appeal no. 6852/02:  Speaking Orders dt 11-7-11 are not implemented by State even after 12 months. in which SCIC had passed orders to give information for item no.4 to 6 and to take disciplinary action against 3 PIOs of Ministries of Social Justice and Health. This is a Public Interest case from Senior Citizen for information about i) Non-adoption by State of National Policy on Older Persons announced by Govt of India in 1999 for 13 years and depriving 1.02 crore Senior Citizens of Maharashtra of benefits envisaged in the Policy. ii) Information about action taken by State on Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. iii) Information about implementation of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna by State. These orders dt 11-7-11 are not complied and information requested in Application dt 3-4-10 is not given even after 27 MONTHS as against limit of 30 days!!
      This position was brought to the notice of SCIC by name, Shri Gurekar, PIO and    Pradhan Sachivs of Ministries of Social Justice and also Health under my following NINE  letters but no response till date!!
i)30-8-11.  ii) 28-10-11. iii) 5-12-11.  iv) 11-1-12.  V) 8-2-12.  Vi) 3-3-12. Vii) 26-3-12. Viii) 11-5-12. Ix) 15-6-12.
As these issues are affecting 1.02 crore Elders of our State, we shall be obliged, if you kindly get us proper information from concerned Public Authorities.

  1. Appeal no. 7461/2011/02 in which you have given Speaking Order on 28-6-12 received on 10-7-12 that as information, as available is given by PIO on 21-10-10 and as no information about State Orders dt 12-12-06 is available, it cannot be given and as such Appeal is rejected. This is a Public Interest Case from senior Citizen about non-implementation of State Orders dt 12-12-06 for giving free treatment to Senior Citizens in all Municipal Hospitals. There are more than 100 Municipal Hospitals in Greater Mumbai and each and every Hospital except three major Hospitals viz Nair, KEM (Appeal no. 7146) & Sion (IInd Appeal dt 24-2-11, no date fixed, no Appeal no. advised) have given in writing to us in reply to our earlier RTI Application that they are following these orders and giving free treatment to Senior Citizens. These 3 major hospitals are not giving information as to whether they have received this orders
dt 12-12-06 or any orders from their Head Office and if yes, what action was taken and copies of notings deciding not to implement. No information is being given about receipt of orders of Head Office for State Orders dt 12-12-06 in their offices and action taken on that. J J Hospital, which is equally big State Hospital has confirmed in writing to us that they are giving free treatment to Elders but these 3 major Municipal Hospitals are not implementing State GR on plea that it will be financial burden on them. Matter was reported to Ministry of Health and SCIC in Appeal no. 5949/02 had given orders on 27-8-10 to Appellate Authority to give position within one month but no action is taken till today. This was repeatedly brought to the notice of your office also.  

  1. Appeal no. 2010/4951/02 in which some orders were passed by IC on 30-6-10 without getting the requested information from Konkan Housing & Area Development Board, Bandra. On receipt of orders dt 30-6-12, the matter was pursued with State Chief Information Commissioner through my letter dt 12-7-10 followed by letters dt 19-8-10, 29-9-10, 2-11-10 and thereafter through RTI Application, Ist & IInd Appeal against SIC along with other cases and final outcome is still awaited. This is a Public Interest Case from Senior Citizen for information about non-provision of a single light in a Public Garden Provided by Konkan Housing & Area Development Board, Bandra in Mira Road. It is a social crime also for such Public Board not to provide a single light initially and then for last 7 years inspite of repeated representations. Kindly, help us.
4.Public Interest IInd Appeal no. 5949/02 dt27-8-10 against Ministry of Health for giving status of our letter to them dt 27-8-09 to take up with Municipal Corporation for non-implementation of their orders dt 12-12-06 by 3 major hospitals to give free treatment to senior Citizens of the State. The then SCIC asked Ministry to give status within one month vide his orders no, ma a-2010/47633/appeal no. 5949/02 dt 27-8-10 but no reply till date. This non-implementation was brought to notice of your office in letter dt 2-11-10 but no action  even after large number of reminders.  

Annexure B indicating Public Interest Cases pending since long with SIC, Mumbai.
i)                    :  Public Interest IInd Appeal dt 7-7-11 under Section 19(3) of The Right To Information Act, 2005 against Public Information Officer of Principal Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai- 400032, in which we had requested the status of our letter dt 30-12-10 to Chief Secretary for advising action taken by State on various directives issued by Central Govt for celebrating 1st October as World Elder Day, giving Vayoshrestha Awards to Senior Citizens of the State for good work, Providing Day Care Centres and other 15 schemes under Integrated Programme to be provided by Municipalities etc. No reply is given inspite of reminders on letter and Application dt 14-4-11 followed by 1st & IInd Appeals. Your office was reminded vide letters  dt 26-8-11, 11-1-12, 4-3-12& 14-5-12 but even  Appeal no. is not given and the date of Hearing is not fixed. Information requested in my Application dt 14-4-11 is not yet given even after more than Fifteen Months, though required to be supplied within 30 days!
ii)                  Public Interest Complaint under Sec 18-1© of the Act filed on 25-11-10 against Ministry of Nagar Vikas for giving status of our letter dt 22-8-10 to Home Minister requesting to give 50% concession in ST buses to all senior citizens and to accept any proof for age, more than 50% to Elder Women etc is turned down under your office letter no. mu ma a 2012/3082/complaint no. 220/ka. 01 dt 19-5-12 received on 3-7-12 on the plea that 1st Appeal is a must as per Supreme Court`s orders in case no. 10787-10788/2011 dt 12-12-11. When no one gives any reply inspite of large number of reminders, citizen should not be forced to spend money for 1st Appeal and waste his money and time in getting simple information and so far provision under Sec 18 © is not struck down and exists, orders given by any court in any particular case can not be followed in all cases. Kindly, see, if you can help us.
iii)                Public Interest Complaint under Sec 18 © of the Act filed on 25-11-10 against Secretary  (A.R. & O.M.), government of Maharashtra for giving status position of our letter dt 23-5-11 for giving position of 4 letters pertaining to Senior Citizens received from Ministry of A.R. & P.G. & PMO is turned down under your office letter no. mu ma a 2012/3082/complaint no. 220/ka. 01 dt 19-5-12 received on 3-7-12 on the plea that 1st Appeal is a must as per Supreme Court`s orders in case no. 10787-10788/2011 dt 12-12-11. When no one gives any reply inspite of large number of reminders, citizen should not be forced to spend money for 1st Appeal and waste his money and time in getting simple information and so far provision under Sec 18-1© is not struck down and exists, orders given by any court in any particular case can not be followed in all cases. Kindly, see, if you can help us.
Annexure C indicating dates of receipts of your letters.
Sr No. Letter no.   &   Date                                                       Date of Receipt      Date of Hearing
1   mu ma a/nondni kr.509/appeal no. 7143/2011/02 dt 21-2-12.   28-3-12.           15-3-12.  
2 same number dt 15-3-12   Speaking Orders                                 31-5-12             After 76 days.
3 mu ma a/nondhni kr 691/appeal no. 7461/2011/02 dt 19-6-12    10-7-12             28-6-12
4 sane number Speaking Orders dt 28-6-12                                     10-7-12            After 12 days
5 mu ma a2011/42/pra a kr 47/01 dt nil                                           18-1-12            18-11-11
6 mu ma a2012/3081/ 221/ka.01 dt 19-5-12                      22-6-12            After 33 days
7 mu ma a2012/3082/ 220/ka.01 dt 19-5-12                      3-7-12              After 44 days.                   

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Welcome to New Welfare Secretary.

To                                                               Date: 11-7-12.
Shri Anil Goswami,
Secretary (Welfare), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment,
 Government of India , Shastri Bhavan,
New Delhi-110 001.
Sub: Welcome as our Welfare Secretary.
1.      We, along with 12 crore Elders of Our Country, are very enthusiastic to welcome you as our Welfare Secretary with Blessings and Best Wishes with a great hope that you will do your Best to look after our welfare in true & sincere spirit by streamlining the working of our Nodal Ministry.
2.      By now, you might have been aware of existing National Policy of Older Persons, 99 (NPOP,99) and its long pending revision as per recommendations given by Review Committee handed over to Hon, Minister on 30-3-11. From the time Review Committee was appointed on 28-1-10, action is being neither taken on provisions of NPOP, 99 nor on suggestions by Review Committee to give separate department of Senior Citizens; Directorate of Senior Citizens in States/UTs; National/State Commission for Senior Citizens; Implementation Cells in offices of all Stake Holders etc. Large number of important provisions of NPOP, 99 is not implemented by various Stake Holders even after 13 years till today and Nodal Ministry is not taking systematic action to chase various Stake Holders. As per para 93 of NPOP, 99 (repeated by Review Committee also), each Ministry is required to prepare its own Five Year and Annual Action plan to implement various aspects which concern them with targets & Time Schedules. No ministry has ever prepared such plans or time schedules and Nodal Ministry has never reminded anyone to give information about implementation of various provisions, except holding irregularly (not even once in a year many times) a meeting of Inter-Ministerial Committee by giving them some action points without reference to paras of NPOP, 99, resulting in non-implementation of very important provisions of NPOP, 99 during 13 years. It is necessary that each Stake Holder is given a list of provisions concerning them and Plans obtained for early implementation.
3.      As per para 96, an autonomous registered National Association of Older Persons (NAOP) at National, State & District levels was to be established to ``mobilize Senior Citizens, particulate their interests, promote & undertake programmes & activities for their wellbeing & to advise the Government on all matters relating to older persons.`` No  action is taken in 13 years to form such useful negotiating Machinery nor any of the existing registered Confederation/Federation/Association is recognized for even sending copies of various orders/circulars about facilities/grants/celebrations/ Vayoshreshta Sanman Awards rules, forms, last date etc. from Nodal Ministry or other Ministries affecting Senior Citizens. Ministry of Personnel, P.G. & Pensions, which is a Nodal Ministry for all Pensioners of all departments, has recognized as many as 78 Associations of Pensioners and these are supplied with all circulars and are allowed to represent the grievances of pensioners. 27 Associations of them have been provided with Pension Portals-Hard ware, Soft ware & Training at the cost of Ministry and are paid Rs 75000 p.a. for telephone, internet connection, stationery, AMC/Battery replacement, subsidy towards rent for office building, water, electricity etc and honorarium of part time Data Entry Operator to each of these 27 Associations (Lr.No55(6)2012-P&P© dt 28-3-12).  They have established SCOVA, which meets regularly. Their Web Site provides direct contact with them by Pensioners & Associations for their grievances. Our Nodal Ministry has not recognized a single Association or sending a single circular to any of the Associations. Our Web Site is complicated and also not kept up to date and most of the time difficult to get connected for a particular subject. Though portion of Senior Citizens is shown in margin as a separate entity, it does not give the required information. More over many Senior Citizens do not have access to computers. There is absolute need for providing a separate Web Site for Senior Citizens. It appears that two departments are formed with effect from 14-5-12 but Department exclusively for Senior Citizens is not created!! The department of Victims of substance abuse is also included in Department of S.J.& E. This is not fare for 12 crore Elders of the Country! Web Site may please be  segregated for Department of Disabilities and Victims of substance abuse and exclusive Web Site for Senior Citizens may please be given. Information Hand Book for RTI also requires to be kept separate for Senior Citizens. All major Associations of Senior Citizens are publishing monthly magazines/news letters and having Web Sites and as such recognizing them and sending circulars etc to them will result in the information reaching to many Senior Citizens.  It may also be examined whether Nodal Ministry can provide these Associations direct access to Web Site of Nodal Ministry-Senior Citizens Portal by providing them Hard Ware, Soft Ware, Training etc, as done by Pension Ministry. It is absolutely necessary that all such major Associations are immediately recognized by Nodal Ministry and SCOVA type Negotiating Ministry created immediately. Instructions may please be issued to all concerned Ministries including Pension Ministry (as these Associations deal with Pensioners also) to send copies of all matters pertaining to Senior Citizens. As most of the States/UTs have not constituted State Councils, instructions may be issued for recognizing State-level Associations and send them all circulars with facility of representation. Hardly any State/UT bothers about Senior Citizens and do not celebrate International Day Of Older Persons on 1st October or International Day of Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June nor give any awards in appreciation of good services to Society & Elders to deserving sr citizens.  NCOP does not serve any purpose being non-representative of 12 crore Elders and not meeting regularly, sincerely and seriously. 
4.      Even after 13 years of formation of the Policy for overall upliftment of Senior Citizens in paras 20, 21,31, 55, 78, 79 etc, nothing is done for their proper utilization. As older persons constitute an ever-increasing proportion of the total population, they have the potential to become more influential politically, economically and socially. Fulfilling this potential would be in line with the objectives of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing also, which are to ensure that people can age with security and dignity and continue to participate fully in their societies as citizens with full rights. Older persons should be aorded the possibility of becoming more actively engaged in the development process so that their skills, experiences, wisdom and knowledge can be put to use in society for the benefit of all.First and Foremost Abuse of Elders in our Country is Non-utilization of Senior Citizens!! A person retires from service at 60 compulsorily and has nothing to do. He rests and does not remain active, resulting in deteriorating health & connected problems! He abuses himself!!  He develops inertia of doing nothing; he does not participate in any functions, does not go to any Associations, and develops inertia in many respects. They are not welcome in their houses. They have no respect in family or society! They just kill their time sitting on roads, watching passing vehicles & people!! Just as employment guarantee is provided to rural population by enacting Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Bharat Nirman and Nine Flagship Schemes etc, Senior Citizens in Urban areas should be provided with social security and ample avenues of employment by passing suitable Act/ordinance and increasing retirement age etc. Ministries concerned may please be advised to create avenues of utilization and provide other reliefs laid down in NPOP,99 and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
5.       One third of Senior Citizens are Below Poverty Line and another one third little above but with lower income and thus two third is in fragile financial position as brought out in para 24 of the Policy. Even Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension is a meager amount of Rs 200 from Central Government for a Senior Citizen belonging to BPL Family of 5 persons, which is a mockery of human being. Even the procedure of classifying as BPL is very complicated and requires to be simplified. The amount of Pension should be increased considerably and eligibility for being classified should be simplified, keeping in view the recent agitation by Pension Parishad, the Country’s GDP and Average National Income etc and Abuse of poor elders reduced. Special instructions should be issued for providing Daily Care Centers, Multi Service Centers by the Municipalities-Panchayats and Corporate Sectors for enabling Senior Citizens to stop their own Abuse and pass their time actively and usefully. We request our very capable Guardian Secretary to give serious thought to this pitiable position and problem and create sufficient avenues for utilization of this large Think-Tank of the Country, increase the amount of IGNOAPension of Rs 200 and provide Day Care Centres etc with targets.
6.      For various purposes to provide relief to senior citizens of the Country, Finance Ministry was to create a Welfare Fund as per provisions in National Policy for Older Persons,99 (NPOP,99) but this has not been done, as no proposal was sent to them by Nodal Ministry, as advised by them. There are many provisions like paras 24, 25, 27, 59 to 64, 68 to 98 in which Nodal Ministry has not issued any instructions to the concerned Stake Holders like NGOs, Trade Unions, Trusts, Media etc and this has resulted in disadvantage to Elders. Kindly, get action on all provisions very early.
7.      Review Committee had given revised policy on 30-3-11 and it is more than 15 MONTHS, it is lying with Nodal Ministry. Kindly, look in to this sorry state of affairs in Nodal Ministry and streamline its working for Welfare of your 12 crore Elders at an early date.
Thanking You, 
Yours Sincerely,