“We are protesting against the continuous neglect and ignorance exhibited by both the central and the state government, despite giving to them our demands in writing. If our issues are not acknowledged, then we’ll be going go on a state-wide agitation in June 15th starting World Elder Abuse Day,” said Sailesh Mishra, coordinator of JAC & founder-president of Silver Inning Foundation (SIF).
Activists have claimed that has been no support or funds from the government, agencies, or corporate sector for the elderly, in the state that has around one crore senior citizens (60 +), out of which 66 per cent are poor, while 90 per cent lack social or health security. They further asserted that in the 2011-12 state budget the government has conveniently ignored the implementation of those policies which it had deemed as vital for the welfare of the elderly.
In the current central budget, provisions have been made for senior citizens in taxation and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, with an increment for 80+ among other benefits, which the committee feels are not enough.
“Very few of our demands have been met. Last year, we had submitted a memorandum to Minister of State for Housing& Social Justice , Sachin Ahir, apprising him of the problems the elderly have to face due to the non-implementation of NPOP, but no action has been taken till date,” added Mishra.
He added, “Senior citizens need multi-service/disciplinary day care centres across major cities and towns in the country. The government should make provisions so that all the municipal corporations and panchayats provide day care and recreation centres across the state.”
The committee has also asked for health insurance and representation of schemes like Shravan Bal Yojana, Indira Gandhi Niradhar Bhoomiless, Vidhawa Mahila Anudan Yojana, etc., for allotting pension to senior citizens who are poor. Similarly, the organizations supporting JAC have also demanded a 50 per cent concession for the elderly across the state and city transport buses and an ultra modern special geriatric ward in district and municipal hospitals. “Free homes for destitute should be constructed in all districts in the state, and a comprehensive policy should be declared on Dementia and Alzheimer's,” said Sailesh.
Some of the demands of the joint action committee:
- Declaration of State Policy for Senior Citizens, which the committee has claimed is lying unimplemented since 2002
- Formation of State Council of Senior Citizens and Commission, under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Social Justice for effective promotion and coordination of the concerns of senior citizens
- Establishment of multi-service day care centres, so that they can be utilized in social activities and for improvement in physical and mental health of the elderly
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.