Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open letter to NPOP Review Committee Chairman and Government of India for welfare and benefit of Senior Citizens

Date: 23rd July 2010

The Chairperson,
NPOP Review Committee,
New Delhi

Dear Smt. Mohini Giri,

We take this opportunity to congratulate you and government of India for taking initiative after 11 years to review/implement NPOP.

But it’s also sad to note that NPOP was formulated in 1999, but till date it has not been implemented by Central Govt. / Pan India, due to various reasons including lack of political will. Various NGO's and activist have been advocating its implementation and review. In this regards a ‘National Protest Day ‘is observed by all NGO’s, Senior Citizen associations/federation and Senior Citizens to press their demands on 16th August 2010.

During these 11 years the world has changed, there has been significant demography change in India's population due globalization and improved medical facility and lifestyle. The fall of joint family system and rise in nuclear family system has brought new dimension to the care and welfare of Elderly. Population of people above 60 years of age is estimated to be 96 million in 2010.The Life span has increased by 60% in 60 yrs. India has today second largest population of Senior Citizens. There is sharp increase in population of Young Old 60yrs to 69 yrs and Old old 80+. Due to this demand and needs of various age groups have changed. Now it is time for civil society and government to rethink their strategy to address the needs of Senior Citizens.

After 63 years of Independence and democracy experiment there are segments of people who are not treated at par with others, there is injustice and discrimination towards them. One of the most neglected and ignored segment is of Senior Citizens. Elders are not considered as part of mainstream, there is unjust treatment to those who gain 60 years of age, and they are suddenly considered ‘Retired’, good for nothing. Government and Civil Society are not bothered of this experienced and skill group of people.

The Indian subcontinent boasts of our ‘Great Joint Family’ ‘The Traditional Family’ System where we used to respect, care and love our elders, our parents. Due to Globalization and New lifestyle there is increasing number of Abuse, Neglect and Abandon case with regards to Senior Citizens. The gradual Urbanization of Rural India is also a new trend to worry.

Over and above a Step Motherly treatment by Federal and State Government is making situation worse for our Elderly. There is ministry for Women, Children, Youth, Environment; there is National Commission for Minority, Women and Human Right etc but the 8% of Elderly are represented by the congested and overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) .Senior Citizens is only part of NICE in NISD of MSJE.

In a reply to one of the RTI application it was shocking to note that most of the ministry like Finance, Transport, Health, Education were not aware of NPOP, nor there was any concert plan. It is sad to note that still today there is NO uniformity of age for classification of senior citizens between different ministry and state government.

With regards to protection from Law and Social Security there has been no tough initiative. In December 2007 Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed by central government but still it has been not implement by many states and also those state who have implement the act, the local government has not made serious effort to make Tribunals and address the problems. There is need for pan-India political and social will.

A Private and Public partnership can be one way to provide innovation services and products. Psycho and social problems of the elderly needs to be attended urgently.

World over the Concept of Community base services and Ageing in Place is now promoted. The Welfare State concept is loosing its grip as government around the World can’t afford the expense. UN has now accepted the fact the Traditional Family is the best place to Age and best place to provide Care for Aged.

The 13% huge, powerful and unrecognized segment of Senior Citizens voters can’t be left alone, they can’t be ignored. Political Parties has to include projects and programmes for the benefits of Elderly in their respective Manifesto. Government has to address the issues and problem of ever growing population of Elderly.

We once again request you to involve all stake holders including NGO’s, Academicians, Institutions and Senior Citizens themselves in formulation , review , implementation , plan of action of any policy and act with regards to ageing in India. The approach should be holistic and inclusive.

Following are the Recommendation and Demand we have received for last two years from common Senior Citizens for their welfare and benefit:

1. A separate and dedicated Ministry for Elderly
2. Every state should have independent depart for Senior Citizens headed by Undersecretary level officer
3. Review and immediate implementation of NPOP and make it ‘National Senior Citizens Act’
4. Immediate implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
5. To make enough allocation/budgetary/increase provision for implementation of NPOP in state and central level as per the population of elderly
6. To ask state government to Immediately form district level tribunals which should include local NGO’s, Academicians, Institutions and Senior Citizens associations
7. National Commission for Senior Citizens to be established immediately
8. To immediately establish National Ageing Research Center at different part of country
9. Uniform Age to be declared for classification of Senior Citizens, which should be 60 Years
10. Four Digit National Helpline
11. To have different plan/policy for Oldest Old, people who are 80yreas plus
12. Comprehensive Medical Insurance plan
13. Comprehensive Social Security/Protection Plan, like tax when young
14. National pension plan of minimum Rs.1000/- to al Elderly
15. To have Intra ministerial coordination among central and state government
16. Promotion of Multi-service community Gero-Care Centre
17. Promotion of Intergeneration Solidarity / project and course in High Schools and Colleges
18. Specialization of Geriatrics in Medical ( MMBS /MD) and Gerontology in MSW and Diploma level
19. Geriatric Wards in Municipal and Private Hospitals
20. Professional Training for bureaucrats , police , legal profession
21. To make Elder abuse non bailable offence
22. To address psycho social aspect in Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
23. Comprehensive Law to protect interest of Senior Citizens
24. Promotion of CSR and NGO for Elderly cause
25. Promotion of R & D for various aspects of Geriatrics and Gerontology
26. Promotion of R & D for products and services
27. Promotion of Private sector in Product manufacturing and Services
28. To have National Nodal agency for Elder Abuse
29. To promote Community services
30. To promote Ageing at place
31. To appoint Welfare officer or special cell in each Police Station for Elder Abuse, similar to Child welfare officer / Women cell
32. Special Training and Awareness campaign for Empowerment of Elderly
33. Promotion for Micro Credit facility
34. Promotion of Life Long Learning and Recreation centers
35. Promotion of organisation for Second career opportunity
36. Promotion of programmes for Social Inclusion and Mainstreaming
37. Promotion of Equal Opportunity and Non Discrimination
38. To mark World Elders Day as National Event in all government department, private sectors and Educational institutions
39. Promotion of Universal Design and WHO elder friendly concept: Elder Friendly Infrastructure / City / Designs
40. Monitoring and Guidelines for Old Age Homes, Care centers and service providers, to protect rights of Elderly
41. National Dementia Policy
42. Promotion of Old Age homes only for needy, it’s should be criminal offense if Elders are pushed into Old Age Homes
43. To adopt Rights of Elderly like Child Rights
44. To have guidelines of Ethics for media when they report and show Senior Citizens
45. Guidelines for Police Station with regards to Senior Citizens
46. Guideline for Jail/Prison authorities with regards to Senior Citizens
47. Subsidy for Health care , Long Term Care and Medicine for those who can’t afford
48. Promotion of ICT and Technology
49. Promotion of Health and Fitness from young age and concept of Healthy Ageing
50. Promotion of Alternative and Indian Medicine for benefits of aged and all
51. Promotion of Private sector in medical Service, Insurance and Care with protection of interest for Elders
52. To have old age homes in every Taluka
53. To have Day care center and Dementia Day care center at every Taluka and municipal ward level
54. To classify Dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson as disability and offer all the benefits available for care taking family members
55. To include plan of action in NPOP to address issues related to Dementia and Alzheimer’s
56. To promote and implement Pre retirement Training in Government and corporate level
57. To have National Council of Older Person
58. To have State level Council of Older Person
59. To address need of Recreation facility
60. Promotion of Intergenerational programme at Secondary school level
61. To have national uniform module for training of care giving / geriatric care / dementia care
62. To establish fast track court
63. To make process of ‘Integrated Programme for older person’ easier such as single window policy

As India is Signatory to UN ‘Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002’ we hereby demand to implement/adopt all the principals of Madrid plan in NPOP.

Please remember that “Ageing is not 'lost youth ‘but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.

We are confident that government of India will work with positive and proactive approach to safeguard of our elderly and give them peace, security and dignified life.

Your Sincerely,

Sailesh Mishra
Founder President

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

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