Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pursuing our 10 demands with President of India.

M.V.Ruparelia, Chief Patron, All India Senior Citizens Cofederation (AISCCON). A503 Rashmi Utsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park, Mira Road (East) Dist. Thane. 401107. T.No. 022-28123691. M. 09821732855.
To                                                           Date: 21-11-13.
Shri Joginder Prasad,
Under Secretary (Co-ordination II), Ministry of Home Affairs,
North Block, New Delhi-110001.
Sub: Representation from Senior Citizens about help required from various Ministries under Government of India for 120 crore Elders of the Country.
Ref: Your letter no. 20011/125/2013-Coord.II dt 14-11-13.
1.     We are very much thankful for your prompt and detailed reply and guidance to various representations to President and your Ministry. As guided by you, it is observed from web site for allocation of business rules, 1961 that Ministry of Social Justice is allotted the work of welfare of senior citizens as a Nodal Ministry with clear indication in the Note that: `` The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment shall be the nodal Department for the overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes for the development of the groups mentioned at (i) to (iv) above, and the welfare of the group at (v) above. However, overall management and monitoring etc. of the sectoral programmes in respect of these groups shall be the responsibility of the concerned Central Ministries, State Governments and Union territory Administrations. Each Central Ministry or Department shall discharge nodal responsibility concerning its sector.``
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. It has been provided in its Mandate and Policy Statement & other paras to take effective steps to improve the quality of life of all Elders, strengthen their legitimate place in society and help them to live their last spell of life with purpose, dignity and peace. Para 18 of the Policy provides that age 60+ is a phase, when individual should have chances and opportunities to lead an active, creative, productive and satisfying life.
3.     When we request any Ministry to advise action taken and proposed to be taken on various provisions of this declared National Policy, stock reaction is that they are not concerned and we should approach Ministry of Social Justice only. e.g. Major stakeholder, the Ministry of Finance is not prepared to issue any instructions to RBI and other Banks about providing financial security, as laid down in Policy but advises in Financial Meetings to the Banks that the additional interest for senior citizens may be reasonable but not excessive, resulting in extra ½% , which was being given getting reduced to ¼% by SBI & other banks!! Finance Ministry is not accepting to give subsidy in premium for medical insurance to Elders, as recommended by IRDA long ago and provided in Policy, 99 nor prepared to create Welfare Fund for Elders, as provided in Policy even after 14 years. Major points requiring action by various Ministries are briefly mentioned in PIB Release dt 12-11-13 received with your above. No Ministry is prepared to change their old Rules for their retired staff on the basis of Provisions of National Policy, 99 and National Programme for Health Care of Elders(NPHCE)  notified by Ministry of Health before 3-4 years!! e.g. Railways are taking their serving employees on tour regularly through contributions to Staff Benefit Fund  but not taking retired employees; they allow the use of their Holiday Homes to retired staff but charge 1 ½ times, they charge to serving employees. All Ministries provide free medical treatment to retired employees through their own fulfledged Medical Hospitals like Railways, Defence etc & CGHS dispensaries etc but are not prepared to adopt facilities of geriatric wards etc laid down in NPHCE. Health Ministry is not prepared to issue any instructions to them. All Central Government retired employees are deprived of NPHCE Provisions. Action on Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens is also not being taken by concerned Ministries but left to Nodal Ministry.
4.     Ministry of Social Justice can not force or even ask other Ministry to act, chase and do their duties! All Central Ministries have to initiate action to implement various provisions by issuing proper instructions to their subordinate offices and States/UTs, Public Sector Undertakings, Media, Trusts etc and chase them regularly and get their portions implemented. For this, we request you to issue special instructions to all Stake Holders including Media, Trusts etc for all the three Policies early.
5.     Ministry of Social Justice is provided with 1 Joint Secretary, 1 Dy Secretary, 1 Under Secretary and 2 Section Officers for welfare of 120 crore Elders of the Country, as compared to 1 Secretary, 1 Director, 2 Dy Secretaries, 1 Sr PPS, 6 Under Secretaries, 1 AD (OL), 6 Section Officers and 4 Personal Secretaries for about 30 lakh civil pensioners of all Ministries, though Pension Ministry has to only make out policy etc and payments and grievance solving etc are made by each Ministry. Each Ministry is brought to regular SCOVA Meetings with various Unions of Pensioners for grievances of all Pensioners. Ministry of Social Justice is not able to chase any stakeholders for implementation, does not disseminate any information to Elders of the Country, does not negotiate with any of the registered Associations of Senior Citizens, not able to finalize even revised policy for senior citizens in 4 years since formation of Review Committee on 28-1-10, not able to prepare a note for cabinet`s approval for revised policy since more than 6 months!! What can Government expect from mere 3 officers for such a huge task of welfare of 120 crore Elders of the Country, which is increasing day by day.
6.     Vision of Home Ministry is to maintain peace and harmony in the Country, which are essential pre-requisites for development and blossoming of individual as well as social aspirations and building a strong and prosperous nation. For this, Home Ministry is to preserve, protect and promote social harmony, provide timely justice and uphold the principles of human rights. Elders of the Country are abused, many killed, most neglected by Society & Governments and are not respected nor any action is taken to ensure that they are developed and helped to live their last phase of life with purpose, dignity and peace, as laid down in Mandate & Policy Statement in National Policy, 99. Their position was brought out in our representations to President and your Ministry (PRSEC/E/2013/13557 dt 23-8-13 & MINHA/E/2013/01833 dt 13-9-13 etc) under reference and need not be repeated. However, it will not be out of place to mention here that Government of Maharashtra is considering citizens of 65 and above only as Senior Citizens in the State Policy declared on 30-9-13, as Maharashtrians, perhaps are not Indian Citizens for whom Government of India has notified that all those of 60 and above are senior citizens in the entire country. We request our Home Ministry to look in to this pitiable condition of our Elders, whose Human Rights are being violated often in our Country, which boasts for Matro Devo Bhav & Pitro Devo Bhav in entire World! We shall be thankful, if something tangible is got done at an early date by providing sufficient staff to Nodal Ministry and issuing higher level instructions to all Ministries to take sufficient and efficient action for welfare of their Elders.
Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,