What can BSNL do to Senior Citizens?
Dr P Vyasamoorthy
BSNL is still the largest Telephone service provider in India. Being a public sector company it has certain additional responsibilities such as reaching out to rural masses, cover every nook and corner of India, exhibit a greater sense of Corporate Social responsibility etc. Faced with stiff competition BSNL has been losing customers to competitors. To win them back a number measurers have been taken up. Some of these include frequent downward tariff revisions, combined offers of mobile and landline, schemes suiting to various sections of the society such as students, government servants etc. Let us see now what BSNL can offer to senior citizens. You may think of this as an Open Letter to policy makers at BSNL.
BSNL may offer special concessions or discounts to senior citizens. After all they form nearly 8.5% of the total population. This may be given to seniors living alone as identified by Voters Lists or Government ID Cards. A certain number of calls may be free or at reduced rates. As senior citizens are lonely they would like to engage themselves in talking to others over phone or mobile. Greater the discount more will be the utilization.
Senior Citizens do not like to be disturbed by unsolicited commercial callers, advertisers, tele-marketers etc. Such calls are very annoying especially in the afternoon hours while they take a nap. The Do Not Call registry, though available in principle, does not work. Many do not know how to register in Do NOT CALL Registry. Moreover the registry presently works on the principle of excluding those who register from the attack of commercial callers. It should be the other way round. Only those who have given explicit permission to be disturbed by tele-marketers can be called. If this can not be done then senior citizens may be helped through a help line on using the registry.
BSNL may tie up with local NGOs. NGOs may collect used mobile phones available as donations or throw away. BSNL may help senior citizens to get used mobile phones for free or at cheaper prices and provide some kind of minimal training in the use of cell phones to elders. Mobile tariff to senior citizens may be given at a discount. Many older persons, though having cell phones, can not send simple text messages. How cell phones can help them in emergencies, in tracking patients with dementia etc may be explained.
If large companies like BSNL can not take up such socially pro-active tasks, who will?
Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015
Ph 27846631 / 9490804278