To Date: 15-2-13.
Kumari Selja, Hon Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment,
Government of India, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi-110 001.
Sub: Welfare of 12 crore Elders of the Country.
1. We were happy to know your sincere feelings for your 12 crore Elders of the Country through your inaugural speech on the First Ever National Conference on Ageing held on 6th & 7th November, 12. We hope that our Nodal Ministry will improve its working under your able guidance and come up from long inertia of inaction very early.
2. We are shocked to get the following information under RTI Act from Shri Surendra Rawat, Dy Secretary & CPIO under his letter no.15-37(80)/2011-12-AG.II dt 30-1-13 received on 8-2-13, which indicates inertia prevailing in Nodal Ministry:-
i) No decision is taken by Government for creation of Independent Department for Senior Citizens: According to para 92 of National Policy, 99, a separate Bureau for Senior Citizen was to be created but no action was taken for last 13 years. On 14-5-12, Bureau under Shri T R Meena, Joint Secretary was notified in Web Site, which has now been changed and Web Site gives names of 6 officers without scales and includes officers connected with other than senior citizens-e.g. Shri Sanjeev Kumar, JS (SCD), Deptt. of SJ&E dealing with Schedule Caste Development. Somebody is shown as concerned with BC, Work relating to R&R of Narmada Project. Audit paras of all departments, Administration etc etc. Unless, separate Department with adequate officers and staff with pro-elderly attitude exclusively for Senior Citizens on par with Nodal Ministry for Pensioners is created, no improvements can be expected in working of Nodal Ministry.
ii) Revised National Policy, 2011 submitted by Review Committee on 30-3-11 is still lying without finalization even after 2 years: Review Committee was nominated on 28-1-10 and no action is being taken by Nodal Ministry on existing Policy, 99 since that day nor it is taking prompt action to finalize New Policy. There are 38 provisions out of 98 in the Policy, 99, which require action for which detailed write-up was sent by E/Mail on 10-1-13 to Secretary (W), Jt Secretary & Director. In Review Committee, eminent Senior Citizens and representatives of Central Ministry & State Representatives were nominated. Even inspite of this, Nodal Ministry again asked each State/UT for remarks and delayed the finalization. It is now proposed by Nodal Ministry to wait for examination by National Council for Senior Citizens and to get remarks from all Central Ministries before getting approval of Cabinet. Formation of New National Council was notified on 22-2-12, but Council is not formed even after one year of notification. Last Meeting of such Council was held on 2-11-11 and frequency of Meeting, though laid down as 6 months, it is held after 2-3 years!! Finalization of New Policy may thus take many more months/years to notify. Action on Policy, 99 should therefore be not stopped but expedited.
iii) No meetings of Inter-Ministerial Committee are held after 7-2-08:When as many as 38 provisions of Policy, 99 are not yet implemented even after 14 years, not holding these meetings for 5 years is nothing but clear indication that Nodal Ministry is not interested in welfare of its Elders. Nodal Ministry is not even obtaining Annual & Five Year Action Plans from any Ministry, as laid down in para 93 of Policy, 99.
iv) No minutes are prepared and placed on Web Site for last 2 Meetings of National Council held on 23-10-09 & 2-11-11: With no National Association of Senior Citizens recognized as NAOP to function as Watch Dog to generate pressure for implementation of Policy (paras 96 &91) and National Council made completely ineffective by not holding Meetings every 6 months and taking no action on its deliberations, the position of 12 crore Elders of the Country has remained static, unproductive, unsatisfying and without any improvement in quality of their last spell of life.
v) Report/recommendations of the Conference held on 6th & 7th November are said to have been sent to concerned Ministries/Departments for appropriate action: Just, sending 44 pages of deliberations of conference without accepting the suggestions by appropriate competent authority and indicating who has to do what will be of no use and it will lie with them, as Policy, 99 is lying for 14 years!! Let some one accept various suggestions and decide modality of action-Action Plan for each suggestion.
3. We have been continuously sending our suggestions on all important aspects of Policy, 99 for last several years with a view to help the officers and staff to initiate proper action on important matters and when response was not forthcoming, we even wrote the following letters to Hon Minister on important aspects of Policy but not a single letter to Minister is replied.
i) 15-4-10. For special action to give wide publicity to Integrated Programmes.
ii) 27-7-10. For taking action on various specific provisions of Policy on eve of All India Protest Day on 16-8-10.
iii) 2-8-10. For recognition of Associations & Separate Web Site.
iv) 15-1-11 For making Budget Provisions and early implementation of certain paras of NPOP, 99.
v) 12-8-11. For taking action on various specific provisions of Policies on eve of All India Solidarity Day on 16-8-11.
vi) 11-8-12. Memorandum for taking action on various specific provisions of Policies on eve of All India Protest Day on 16-8-12.
These letters were sent by Post/Speed Post & E/Mails with copy by E/Mail to Director, joint secretary, secretary etc but are stated to have not been received in Director`s Office and he will not take action on copy received by him through E/Mail, unless original with instructions are received from Minister`s Secretariat.
4. We brought the poor working of Nodal Ministry to the notice of New Secretary Shri Anil Goswami under our letters dt 11-7-12, 5-10-12 and 17-10-12 with specific issues like not replying more than 75 letters/RTI Applications/Appeals, early formation of New National Council and pending important issues. Though, no reply is received for any of these 3 important letters, he appears to have taken some action in changing the dealing officer, though not known much. We request you to strengthen the strength of Officers and Staff with pro-elder attitude officers and get separate Bureau and separate Web Site for Senior Citizens at an early date, so that Nodal Ministry is helpful to 12 crore Elders of the Country and the Main Aim of the Policy declaring the Older Persons as respected Citizens requiring strengthening of their legitimate place in the Society and to take all actions to help them to live their last phase of life with Purpose, Dignity and Peace is achieved early.