To Date: 24-7-13.
Shri Kamal Nath, Hon Minister of Urban Development,
Government of India, Nirman Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road,
New Delhi 110011.
Sub: Non-implementation of National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 by Ministry of Urban Development.
1. The Ministry of Urban Development is the apex authority of Government of India at the national level to formulate policies, sponsor and support programme, coordinate the activities of various Central Ministries, State Governments and other nodal authorities and monitor the programmes concerning all the issues of Urban Development, Public Works Department and functioning of all local bodies like Municipal Corporations, Municipalities & Local Self Government Administrations except Panchayati Raj Institutes.
2. Government of India had announced National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 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. 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. Mandate and National Policy Statement of Policy in paras 12 to 23 directs the Government to help Senior Citizens in all respects to live last phase of their life with Purpose, Dignity & Peace.
3. Provisions pertaining to your Ministry are as under:-
i) Para 97 of the Policy lays down that Local Bodies will be encouraged to participate in implementation of Policy, address local level issues and needs of the ageing and implement programmes for them. They will provide forums for discussing concerns of Senior Citizens and activities that need to be taken.
ii) Para 48 of the Policy lays down that Housing Schemes will earmark 10% of the houses, house sites for Elders. Elders will be given easy access to loans for purchase of houses, repairs etc.
iii) As per para 49, layout of housing colonies will have to respond to the life style of Elders etc.
iv) Para 50 encourages Group Housing for Elders.
v) Para 61expects grants in aid to voluntary organizations for providing subsidized housing to poor elders.
vi) Para 82 expects policies to encourage younger generation to co-reside with elders and to be given preference in allotment of houses, NGOs to be encouraged to provide in-house service to elders etc. There is provision for poverty alleviation of Elders in urban areas etc.
4. We enclose a copy of instructions dt 30-10-12 issued by Ministry of Panchayati Raj to all Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of States/UTs to encourage Panchayati Raj Institutes to implement the National Policy, 99, address local level issues and needs of the ageing and implement programmes for them. We request you to issue proper detailed instructions for Municipalities/Corporations to follow, as 5 crore Urban Elders of the Country are under the care of your Ministry through Municipalities/Corporations. Targets are to be set by you within frame work of a time schedule. Responsibility for implementation of action is also required to be specified by you.
5. We request that following aspects in addition to above may be considered at the time of issuing comprehensive instructions:-
i) Municipalities to provide Day Care Centres etc as per Integrated Programme of Ministry of S.J.& E. in each ward. Integrated Programme is available on Web Site of Ministry of SJ&E and in absence of instructions from your side, no action is being taken by Local Bodies.
ii) Constitute Ward Councils for consultations for Civic Problems by appointing seniors of the area, preferably from local association.
iii) Provide Community Buildings for welfare activities for all citizens, giving separate space for seniors, arranging inter generation activities with students, youths etc.
iv) Provide avenues for part time jobs, honorary utilization by giving training, as necessary.
v) Have model instructions for builders for providing various facilities keeping in view ageing & lifestyle requirements of elders in all buildings, specially no physical barriers to their mobility, Easy accessibility to shopping complexes, reservation of 10% of houses in big colonies and Housing Boards for elders, Group Housing for elders (paras 48 to 54 of Policy).
vi) Municipalities to provide more Nana-Nani Parks and separate earmarking for seniors in existing gardens with sufficient benches, zoolas & other facilities. Develop some gardens on line with Veer Savarkar Garden at Borivali (Mumbai) having sufficient built up place for Associations of Senior Citizens.
vii) Each Ward Officer to be made Friend, Philosopher & Family Member of all elders in their area, making it obligatory to have full details of all elders staying in their jurisdiction.
viii) Creating awareness amongst elders of each ward about facilities given and available by all agencies-government as well as corporate & private bodies, NGOs etc.
ix) Concessions in fares in Municipal Transport with free travel for very elder ladies, toll tax etc may be considered.
x) Footpaths with handles, Zebra Crossings etc should be provided.
Hospitals: As Hospitals are under Municipalities, the following may also be included in instructions also:
xi) Separate ques at present are formed in Municipal Hospitals only for taking out case paper and senior citizens have to be in common que for going to Doctor of Faculty concerned. Instructions are required to be issued for separate ques for going to Dr and getting medicines also. Such instructions are necessary to Shopping Malls for Payment Counters and all other organizations providing public utility under licensing control of Local Bodies.
xii) Separate Health Care Units for Senior Citizens, as envisaged by Ministry of Health & F.W. in National Programme for Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE). Scheme is available in Web Site of Ministry of Health & F.W.
xiii) Geriatric Units in Hospitals attached to Medical Colleges as per NPHCE and
Physiotherapy Units at CHE as per NPHCE should be provided.
xiv) Instructions to Private Charitable Hospitals/Clinics/Pathological units etc to provide separate ques, free treatment to poor & at concessional rate to others and various actions as per paras 33 to 54 of NPOP, 99 for Health & Nutrition and Public Trust Acts.
xv) As all Old Men Homes do not keep immobile seniors, Corporations may consider providing Old Men Homes exclusively for immobile elders, just as they provide Night Shelters for homeless citizens.
xvi) Counseling Centres for Elders are very much necessary.
xvii) Provide free medical facilities in all Municipal Hospitals to Elders.
xviii) Celebrations of World Elder Day, Abuse Awareness Day etc should also be at each Ward level with Vayoshreshtha Awards on local basis.
6. No action appears to have been taken in 14 years on these various provisions in the Policy. We request you to look in to this sorry state of affairs of non-implementation of Policy for benefit of 12 crore Elders of our Country even after 14 years and request to issue Guide Lines to all concerned as per various provisions concerning your Ministry. With your sincere and dynamic personality & tact of handling all situations very efficiently, we are sure that you will do needful promptly.
7. We request you to give us reply in terms of para 66 & 67 of Central Secretariat Manual and DOPT repeated instructions, last being 55/20/2012-P&PW© dt 18-2-13,indicating your plan of action.
Copy to Shri T.R.Meena, Bureau in Charge of Senior Citizens, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, Shastri Bhawan, A Wing, Dr Rajendra Prasad Road, New Delhi-110101 for necessary action.