To Mumbai. Date 18-8-14.
The Registrar General,
Bombay High Court, Fort, Mumbai-400032.
Respected Hon Chief Justice Of Maharashtra,
Sub: Indifferent Attitude & Highhandedness of Government of Maharashtra towards Elders of Maharashtra.
Ref: Your letter no. Y.5301 (iii/13)1582/2013 dt 31-12-13 and Reminder I no. Y5301 (i/14)360/2014 dt 25-3-14 to the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Special Assistance Department, Government of Maharashtra and copy to me.
- We are thankful for your above directives to State Government but regret to inform that no reply is received so far even after 10 months of our representation dt 17-10-13 to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, followed by reminders and representations of our Joint Action Committee of 37 Organizations of Senior Citizens of Maharashtra under their letter no. 121-127/14 dt 7-10-13, 8-6-14 and 28-6-14 to rectify this anamoly of definition of Senior Citizen and to take action on various provisions of the State Policy declared on 30-9-13 and to give them opportunity to discuss various matters. Neither any reply is being given nor is meeting being fixed for discussion.
- The condition of 1.39 crore (60+ as per latest voters list of Maharashtra published on 31-7-14) Elders of Maharashtra is perhaps the worst in the entire country in this Most Rich & Advanced State. Maharashtra Government adopted National Policy of Older Persons, 99 (NPOP, 99) after 15 years on 30-9-13, after continuous chasing by our associations and individuals, which was depriving 1.39 crores of Elders of various facilities and concessions provided in Policy, 99. Worst thing the State did was to declare citizens of 65+ as Senior Citizens in Maharashtra against 60+ in the entire Country, depriving 35% of 1.39 crore Senior Citizens of Maharashtra from various concessions & facilities, they were getting till 30-9-13 as reported by Times of India in their Newspaper dt 1-10-13 without giving them opportunity to represent or heard.
- National Policy, 99 considers 60+ as senior citizens. THE MAINTENANCE AND WELFARE OF PARENTS AND SENIOR CITIZENS ACT, 2007-No. 56 OF 2007-[29th December, 2007] in Chapter 1- 2 - Definitions defines senior citizen as under statutorily for the entire Country:
H: "senior citizen" means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above.
Standing Committee on Social Justice(2013-14) (15th Lok Sabha) in para 23 of their 39th Report have laid stress on this aspect and have desired that all Authorities must adopt uniform criteria for the definition of senior citizens and give due concessions/facilities as per definition.
- Even after adopting some provisions of National Policy, 99 on 30-9-13, no action is being taken to implement any of the accepted and notified provisions, even after 11 months!! Under our letter dt 22-6-14 to Shri G G Alhatji, Up-Sachiv (Coordination), Ministry of Social Justice & Vishesh Sahaya, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032 (Copy enclosed), we suggested to issue instructions for various provisions, where no funds are required but only outside stake holders have to be told to take actions as per State Policy. No action is being taken.
- Apart from non-implementation of the declared Policy, even representations for various important matters to this Ministry for information or action are just not replied. We must have sent about 100 representations/suggestions and copies of facilities etc given by other States for similar action through Registered letters, Ordinary letters and E/Mails but none are replied. We brought this to the notice of Chief Minister under our letter dt 26-5-14 giving a list of only 15 important representations not replied by Ministry of Social Justice and Vishesh Sahaya stating that as per Chapter 3, Rule 10 of Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act (Act 21 of 2006), no file can remain pending with a Government servant for more than 7 working days (about ten days) and the final decision on any file should be taken in less than 90 days but in these cases no reply is being given even after this statutory limit.
- THE MAINTENANCE AND WELFARE OF PARENTS AND SENIOR CITIZENS ACT, 2007 was adopted by Maharashtra State on 23-6-10 and notified in Extra Ordinary Gazeette no. 86. According to Sec 21 of these Rules, 2010, the State was to establish State Council of Senior Citizens to advise the State on effective implementation of the Act etc.Similar Council was necessary asper National Policy, 99. Even after 4 years of laying down the formation of such Council statutorily and District Committees of Senior Citizens and Volunteers` Committees of Senior Citizens at each Police Station (Sec 20), no action is taken to form any Negotiating achinery for Senior Citizens and requests for Meetings by our Organizations are denied.
- Senior Citizens and their Associations of Maharashtra are not able to get anything done by this Ministry, inspite of repeated ``Protect Day`` and demonstrations in Azad Maidan for last several years. They do not know to whom to approach. In Federal Democracy, representations to President, Prime Minister, Governors and Chief Ministers are just forwarded and forgotten. Associations do not have finance or willingness to enter in to legal fights with Authorities due to fear of being blacklisted etc. I or many of other social workers or office bearers do not need any concessions/facilities but want to help needy senior citizens. Overcrowded suburban trains discourage them to come to High Court etc. At 81, I am not mobile due to incurable IPF etc and to come to High Court with PIL etc from Mira Road! We, therefor come to you through this letter for helping 1.39 crore Elders of Maharashtra.