To Date: 24-7-14.
Shri Narendrabhai Modi, Hon. Prime Minister of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110101.
Sub: Blessings, welcome and Request to help 12 crore Elders of the Country.
1. In continuation of our representation dt 27-5-14 on above subject, to which no reply is yet received, we request you to look in to the following in view of your humility and capacity to take India’s development journey to newer heights in view of a mandate given by people of India on 16-5-14 for development, good governance and stability and your seeking Public support, blessings and active participation. As 12 crore Elders of this Most Democratic Country of the World is not given any Negotiating Machinery even after 66 years of Independence, we have to beg for help from our Most Active & Powerful Prime Minister.
2. BJP Manifesto had promised welfare of senior citizens, especially their security and health care, providing financial support, exploring ideas like additional tax benefits and higher interest rates, investing in setting up and improving old-age homes, harnessing their experience in the National Interest, devising schemes and programs to engage the senior citizens as volunteers / part time workers in various development programmes of the government, in urban and rural areas, thereby not only helping in utilizing their time, but also it would be an effective utilization of their experience and may add an additional source of income for them.
3. In addition to 10 New Mantras, you gave advice to your Cabinet Colleagues to frame priority areas for the first 100 days, stressing on “sushasan” or good governance as the cornerstone of your government on 29-5-14. Immediately, we requested the following Ministers on dates shown against each to include some important matters for welfare of 12 crore Elders of the Country and also to Finance Minister again for giving relief in Budget of 2014-15. As none has replied these representations and as there is no News Reports about any Ministry having fixed such 100-day programme and taking action on those items, we considered to approach you for taking action on some of the important aspects of welfare of our Elders.
Representation to Date
Shri Arun Jaitleyji, Hon Minister of Finance 1-6-14
Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlotji, Hon Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment 1-6-14
Shri Raj Nath Singhji, Hon Minister of Home Affairs 1-6-14
Shri Arun Jaitleyji, Hon Minister of Finance for Budget 22-6-14
4. NDA`s first Budget has not done much to give important benefits promised to Senior Citizens in Manifesto, especially for their security & Health Care and giving them financial support like additional tax benefits and higher rates of interest to meet the ever increasing and insurmountable inflation. Increasing income tax exemption limit on par with general public instead of exempting them completely from Income Tax, which tax is mainly for utilizing general services provided by Government by citizens, as rightly brought out in New Tax Law or at least raising the exemption limit up to 5 lakh for senior citizens up to 80 and completely exempting 80(+) or exemption up to 10 lakhs would have shown sincerity of BJP Manifesto in view of prices of essential bare necessities going up and expenditure, they have to incur on health care due to ageing and high cost of medical & nursing care, transportation & support services needed at home. After retirement, pensioners` income is reduced considerably due to pension being 50% of emoluments with 50% DA and no other usual allowances and for other majority, who are not pensioners, their income becoming very much less as compared to income, while serving, it is necessary to exempt them from all taxes to enable them to maintain same life style, while serving as is the aim of the Government.
5. We request you to convince F M to give us the following concessions during the discussions in the Budget under our representation dt 22-6-14, as none of the requests are considered by him, though impact of such concessions to Elders on total collection is negligible, as they are not asking to reimburse the cost paid by them but only requesting to give rebate on money spent by them, which is unavoidable due to ageing and no fault of theirs.
i) We request you to revise rate of monthly pension to BPL with provision to revise it at intervals so that inflation does not deflate its real purchasing power. Present contribution of Central Government for I.G.N.Pension at Rs 200 p.m. is a mockery of human beings! It is necessary to give relief to government pensioners by merging 50% DA with Pension and giving some interim relief to meet with abnormal inflation
ii) Under Sec 80D, deduction of Rs 5000 is allowed for preventive check up to general public including senior citizens. This limit may kindly be increased considerably for senior citizens; as such checkups, consultations with specialists and pathological checkups are very costly and unavoidable for them. Such limit may be raised sufficiently high and separately fixed per individual like self, spouse etc for senior citizens.
iii) Senior Citizens, especially 80+ may be treated as disabled for purpose of Sec 80 DD or similar provision may be made for them.
iv) Scope of Sec 80 DDD may please be expanded to include very expensive diseases requiring lifelong medicines worth Rs 3-5 thousand per month like Heart, Diabetes, IPF etc.
v) National Policy, 99 has laid down that the development of Health Insurance will be given high priority and various reliefs and concessions will be given to make it affordable. IRDA under their letter no. 3/IRDA/Health/SN/SRCC/09-10 dt 25-5-09 to Finance Ministry had recommended to give subsidy of Rs 2000 or any amount that may be fixed by Finance Ministry for every policy taken by Senior Citizen, relating the level of subsidy being afforded to the Below Poverty Line population etc. This may please be done early.
vi) National Policy, 99 provides for higher rates of interest on savings of senior citizens to assure them that payment at the end of stipulated periods are attractive enough to take care of likely erosion in purchasing power. Reserve Bank has authorized all Banks to formulate fixed deposit schemes for senior citizens, offering higher & fixed rates of interest without giving specific directive as per NPOP, 99 and leaving to Directors to decide. State Bank of India pays ¼% extra, which is nothing but mockery of Elders. We request you to get fix proper higher rates and get all Banks pay them. Most of the Elders retired before 1996 have meager savings due to meager settlement dues during earlier period and are dependent on earnings from interest on such meager savings. Our Elders have fought for Independence and have played very important role in bringing present financial prosperity of the Country and deserve special treatment for their wellbeing by getting them higher interest on their savings, keeping in view increasing inflation.
vii) Deduction of Rs 10000 under Sec TTA for interest on Savings Bank Accounts may please be got allowed on all types of Bank Interest like Fixed Deposit etc, as no one would keep big amounts in Savings Bank giving meager rate of 3-4 % and none must be getting Rs 10000 as interest on savings bank deposits.
viii) Please, get provided sufficient funds for implementation of all the 4 Policies (NPOP, 99; Maintenance Act, 2007; IPOP, 2008 and NPHCE, 2010) of the Government for Welfare of Senior Citizens.
6. Our culture is to treat our Elders as Gods (Matru Devo Bhav etc). A comprehensive National Policy on Older Persons was announced by the Government on 13-2-99 but many important provisions thereof are not yet implemented even after 15 full years, depriving your Elders of these notified beneficial provisions. We request you to use your good offices with concerned ministries to get the following at an early date:
A. To provide separate Ministry/Department for 12 crore Elders with separate self contained web site, keeping in view rapidly increasing number of elders. You will be surprised to know that there is no negotiating machinery for 12 crore Elders either at Centre or State/district level, though provided in Policy, 99 and Maintenance Act, 2007. Negotiation & Dissemination of Information to Elders is completely neglected by all Ministries & States, treating all Elders as non-human being and not citizens of this Country. Separate Negotiating Machinery by recognizing existing registered Federations of Senior Citizens like SCOVA formed by Ministry of Pension and separate Web Site for Senior Citizens is what we need immediately, which may not involve huge funds.
B. Please, get total implementation of Action Plan for protection of life & property of Senior Citizens, as laid down in Maintenance & Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Though 7 years have passed, required actions are not taken by States/UTs. Most of the Police Stations have not prepared up-to-date lists of senior citizens living in their jurisdiction nor are visiting them once a month, as laid down nor formed Volunteers Committee to ensure regular contact of Senior Citizens of their area. Even State Councils & District Committees of Senior Citizens for each district are not yet formed.
C. As per Mandate and Policy Statement of National Policy, 99, each Public Authority is required 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. Timely Implementation of Policies is one of the 10 Mantras given by our beloved PM to all his colleagues. BJP Election Manifesto had also committed to the welfare of senior citizens. The first and foremost need of the hour is to create respect for Elders in the Country by special direction to Ministry of I & B and entire private Media. There is lack of interest and enthusiasm in most of the Central and State/UT ministries to implement the declared policies and large number of provisions of these Policies have remained unimplemented, depriving 12 crore Senior Citizens of declared benefits. We request you to consider this sincerely and consider ways and means to get early implementation of all Policies.
D. A Review Committee for revising very comprehensive NPOP, 99 was nominated on 28-1-10 and their recommendations given on 30-3-11 are pending approval of Cabinet for more than 3 years!! No action is being taken on NPOP, 99 on plea of preparation of New Policy for last 3 years!! This may be got rectified and new Policy declared very early.
E. We request you to provide Avenues of Utilization of Elders. Even after 15 years of formation of the Policy for overall upliftment of Senior Citizens, nothing is done for their proper utilization. Many Senior Citizens feel lonely and require some avenues of passing their time usefully.
F. Nodal Ministry has formed a very useful scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP, 2008) for providing 16 schemes like Day Care Centres, Physiotherapy Centres etc, very useful to Elders with provision of 90% grant for recurring and non-recurring expenditure but due to lack of any action on part of Central & State Ministries in charge of Municipalities and Panchayats, not a single Municipality or Panchayat has come forward to provide even a single facility in the entire Country in 6 years!! We shall be thankful, if necessary action is got taken by these sleeping ministries under whom the Municipalities and Panchayats work.
G. There are reports that senior citizens are often abandoned in temples, hospitals and even on highways particularly when they become very old and are unable to contribute to the family monetarily or physically. In some hospitals it is a regular practice that such abandoned seniors are dumped in deserted corners of the hospital to die. The MWPSC Act has mandated that Old Age Homes will be built in each district with a minimum capacity for 150 inmates each. This demand has been just ignored and requires special efforts by our PM.
H. One very important aspect, we want to bring to the notice of our beloved PM is inertia of State Governments and Central Ministries in taking action on various welfare facilities for senior citizens, even for which sufficient funds are given by Ministry of Social Justice for IPOP and Ministry of Health for NPHCE activities. One of the ten Mantras given by you is a system to resolve inter ministerial and interstate issues. Majority of States have not yet accepted NPOP, 99 even after 15 years nor are taking action on provisions made therein. State Councils are not formed; International Day of Older Person & Elder Abuse Awareness Day etc are not celebrated at State Level or District /Municipality Level, Vayovrudh Sanmans are not given etc. We give you only one example of Most Rich & Advanced State of Maharashtra. It adopted State Policy on 30-9-13 with defining citizens of 65(+) as senior citizen as against Government`s declared policy to treat all citizens of 60(+) as senior citizen in entire India and have not taken any action on any of provisions made by them on 30-9-13 even after 10 months and avoiding to discuss matters with Elders Organizations!!
We shall be obliged, if immediate is got taken on above few important requests at an early date and Action Plan advised in terms of pare 66 of Office Manual.