Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Regulating the functioning of Corporate Sector for Welfare of your large number of Elders.

To                                                                         Date: 4-6-13.
Shri Sachin Pilot, Hon. Minister of State for Corporate Affairs,
Room No. 437, C wing, 4th Floor, Shastri Bhawan, Rajendra  Prasad Road, New Delhi-110001.
Respected Young Minister,
Sub:  Regulating the functioning of Corporate Sector for Welfare of your large number of Elders.
Ref; Our earlier Representation dt 28-7-11 to your predecessor Dr. M. Veerappa Moily sent by Speed Post & E/Mail received in your office but no action taken on plea of non-receipt even after sending copy with RTI Application.
We welcome our Young Minister as full-fledged in charge of an important Ministry of Corporate Affairs, whose one of the main functions is regulating the functioning of Corporate Sector.
It has been reported on 2-6-13 in The Times of India (Mumbai) that Companies are withdrawing health insurance cover facility for employees' parents under group mediclaim policies, citing rising costs. Parental cover, routinely provided by companies around five to six years ago, is now sponsored by employers in just 36% of group covers. According to an employee health and benefits study by insurance broker Marsh, only 36% organizations now sponsor cover for dependent parents under employee group mediclaim policies. "On an average, every year around 10% corporates with mediclaim stop sponsoring parental cover. This number which was 70% at the time of detariffing has come down over the years to 36%" said Sanjay Kedia, MD, Marsh India. He added that there is a need to have an environment where companies can cover pre-existing ailments so that there can be a policy which will provide benefits through collective bargaining and health management. ``This is going to be a big social issue as there will be no cover for parents with ailments," said Segar Sampathkumar, general manager and head of health insurance at New India Assurance. Instead of withdrawing the group mediclaim cover for parents, the right way to tackle costs would be through wellness programmes and encouraging 'responsible consumption' of insurance benefits, said Kedia, another problem hurts parents whose health cover has been withdrawn by their children's employer. In theory, a senior citizen covered under his/her children's group mediclaim policy should be able to use the portability route to buy a cover if the employer discontinues the policy. But in reality, no insurer has an individual policy which allows a senior citizen with pre-existing ailments to port into.
As you are aware, Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, 2007 forces the children to provide monthly Maintenance Allowance to all parents. Maintenance includes food, clothing, residence and medical attendance & treatment. The right of parents without any means to be supported by their children having sufficient means is provided in Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956 also. In view of this statutory provision for children to provide maintenance to parents for health care also, action of Corporates to stop this facility by depriving their employees of this facility is required to be stopped immediately and facility must be restored immediately. As Corporate Sector is stake holder of this Act and National Policy of Older Persons 1999 approved by Cabinet on 13-2-99, all relevant provisions should be brought to their notice.
National Policy of Older Persons, 1999 was announced on 13-2-99 with the approval of Cabinet. Para 93 of the Policy directs each Ministry to implement the aspects concerning them by preparing Five Year and Annual Action Plan with targets. Main provisions of NPOP, 99 for your Ministry, on which no action is taken for 14 years, are:-
i)                The Goal of the Policy is the wellbeing of Elders and aims to strengthen their legitimate place in Society and help them to live their last phase of their life with purpose, dignity & peace (Para 15).
ii)              The development of health care insurance is to be given priority to cater to the needs of Elders (Para 36). 
iii)            All endowments will be encouraged to extend their areas of concern to provide services to the elderly (Para 74).
You are requested to get Five Year and Annual Action Plan prepared for your Ministry and get these provisions implemented early.
Ministry of Corporate Affairs had notified more comprehensive revised Guide Lines for Corporate Social Responsibility in July, 2011, in which it is already laid down that ``Depending upon their core competency and business interest, companies should undertake activities for economic and social development of communities and geographical areas, particularly in the vicinity of their operations. These could include: education, skill building for livelihood of people, health, cultural and social welfare etc., particularly targeting at disadvantaged sections of society.``
Senior Citizens are a disadvantaged section of Society due to ageing and form almost 10% of the total population of the Country- 37% is Below Poverty Line and more than 33% belong to Lower Income Group and the financial position of these 70% is very fragile and needs help of Corporate World.
CSR is coming out of the purview of ‘doing social good’ and is fast becoming a ‘business necessity’. The ‘business case’ for CSR is gaining ground and corporate houses are realizing that ‘what is good for workers - their community, health, and environment is also good for the businesses. 

A  Note on Advocacy on Corporate Front from Smt Shielu Sreenivasan, President, Dignity Foundation, Mumbai appeared in Dignity Dialogue for May,12,(Copy enclosed) was sent by me on which also no action is taken by your officers with negative attitude.

We, 12 crore of Country`s Elders have high hopes from our Young Dynamic Minister and we are hopeful that you will take immediate & sympathetic action on our both representations at an early date.

Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,

Copy forwarded to Shri  T.R.Meena, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, A Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-101001 for pursuing the matter further.