Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Traumatized Senior Citizens

It appears, in India senior citizens have no right to live a life of dignity . Day by day they are getting shocks and traumas in one form or the other. Policies of Central and the State Governments were never elder friendly but now a days, they have also given free hand to the service P S Us like Banks, Insurance companies ,State law enforcement /police machinery etc who so far have been considerate and sympathetic to the elders and who have now been left to their mercy of those who act arbitrarily at whims and fancies without any controls from the Governments or regulatory authorities in the name of globalization and competition . Withdrawing /curtailing of extra facilities/benefits hitherto available to the seniors may not be that serious act but withdrawing or suspending health covers/mediclaim schemes /contracts in force or by making it unaffordable by arbitrary an whopping premia enhancement have indeed exposed seniors dangerously . And this is happening in spite of assurances and promises given by the Governments and regulatory authorities that senior citizen interest will be protected .Just take these three glaring instances.

Lakhs of senior citizens ,who were anxiously waiting that after reaching the age of 58 years, they will get their contracted hospitalization cover with the New India Assurance Company(NIAC) thru’ the UNIT TRUST OF INDIA (UTI)by purchasing the units under the Senior Citizens Unit scheme (UTI – SCUP scheme), got their shock of life ,when the UTI suddenly and unilaterally cancelled/terminated the said scheme by sending a printed circular dated 08 January 2008. Fortunately, those who are covered for hospitalization but have crossed 61 years have been spared from this trauma. But then there are lakhs of people who are between 58 and 61 years who have been tortured and injustice inflicted by such unilateral withdrawal.All this is for a fine print clause that UTI and the Insurance company have got right ,under the terms of the policy to cancel or withdraw it anytime.
What for the the Regulatory authorities are meant for like , Insurance Regulatory and Development Authoirity (IRDA) ? .

Another traumatic treatment was heaped by the Nationalized Insurance Companies when they were allowed to suddenly increase the individual/family hospitalization medi-claim policy renewal premium arbitrarily and in some cases as whopping as more than 100 percent of the premium charged hitherto , even for those policies, where no Claim has been made and which are continued uninterrupted for years . Our Consumer Complaints Cell have got the specific cases where the 70 plus seniors were paying ,say for a cover of five lakhs about Rs.12000 per annum. Now the same persons are asked to pay a whopping sum of about Rs.27000 if they wish to continue the policy. From where on earth these helpless, retired /middle class seniors can bring/afford to pay such a large amount for individual cover? Is it that the Governments and their enforcement agencies want them to die without getting the health cover.

Third most disturbing shock has come lately ,especially in the metros where the lonely senior couples/individuals are murdered every day due to deteriorating law and order situation or lack of adequate security from the police/community. For instance .in Mumbai itself there is a nerve wrecking news reported daily of such murders or senior suicides . In last two months about 10 and in last fifteen days alone ,there were 4 reported murders. It is but natural that there is a widespread feeling of insecurity amongst seniors. The Governments or the Enforcement machineries are simply keeping mum or indirectly aiding and abetting such perpetrations.

In such an alarming scenario , I seek some awakening on the part of the seniors, concerned NGOs or Seniors’ welfare organizations to come on one single platform united to protest /fight against such unjustified and arbitrary acts uncontrolled/unregulated by the regulatory or watchdog authorities.

I, myself as a senior citizen ,as well as the chairperson of the Consumer Complaints Cell, an NGO invite all such affected senior citizens /NGOs to come together to make a common and contributory cause ,so that an appropriate writ petition can be filed in the HC or SC for enforcement of our fundamental right to LIVE and also get a declaration that ,Health and Safety are the essential requirements to enjoy the right to life at the cost of Government exchequer. We are not asking for Roti ,Kapda aur Makaan but merely the right to good health and safety ,albeit not as a charity but at an affordable cost.

Mohan Siroya
Chairperson- Consumer Complaints Cell ;

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.


Julia Dutta said...

Thanks For guiding me here. wrt UTI, I have said often and again, that they cannot be trusted at all. In fact they have been doing this stuff of pulling the rug off after the promise made and money collected for many years. There must be a separate body created for Senior Citizens in the light of the fact that, today many Senior Citizens are living by themselves with children away at work, in other cities or countries.
There is a discussion happening on my post in the same name in You may like to know what people are saying there which is also true in the present time.

A Bisht said...

nice article. Brought to light very important topic in the public domain. Recently i read a news regarding the demand to bring father among the legal heirs in one's property. i think this aspect needs to be strengthened, as the chances of ones parents getting a raw deal after some unfortunate happening to the son (or daughter, though not in indian context) have increased manyfolds at present. Do enlighten readers form this topic as well.