Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rajan, the Ganesha Artist

Rajan: The Ganesha artist
Rajan has drawn nearly 600 Ganesha sketches of all shapes and imaginations. Currently, he has more than 525 black and white sketches, some 30 colour paintings and 15 on glass. He says, "I am seeing only Lord Ganeshaji in all ways of life"..

Rajan started drawing on school black board at the age of five. Plenty of sketches that he drew during school and college days were just given away to his friends. After graduation in Maths from Vivekananda College in Madras (now Chennai), one day he drew a Ganesha. His friends got interested and nudged him on to draw more. His imagination caught fire and widened his vision – he started specialising on Ganesha. Slowly his collection grew in size. During Ganesh Puja Festivals he was invited to hold exhibitions of his art work.

Presently he has more than 525 black and white sketches, some 30 colour paintings and 15 on glass. He has conducted more than twenty exhibitions in Mumbai alone. In Mumbai people from Vashi, Dombivili, Thane, Malad, Mulund, Lower Parel, Matunga and Santa Cruz have benefitted and enjoyed from his shows. Kalapathy in Kerala, which is Rajan's Home town, has also witnessed a couple of exhibitions. He plans to offer his drawing collections to anyone desiring to host an exhibition. All paintings are laminated and well preserved.

His collection of Ganesha pictures offer a very wide variety: Some standing, some sitting, some playing musical instruments like tabla, veena, tamburi, drums, etc. Depicted are Ganeshas in different moods like puzzled, mischievous, annoyed or simply gleeful.To Ganesha devotees it is a treasure house for veneration and worship.

Rajan Ramakrishnan (his full name), was born in Palghat, Kerala, educated in Hyderabad graduated in Madras and presently residing with his wife and son - aged ten in Dombivili, Mumbai. His multi-city up bringing has perhaps widened his vision and helped him see Ganeshas of different shapes, sizes, structures and material.

Encouraged by his well wishers, he has started a blog of his own in wordpress under the name rajandraws. Here, most of the Ganeshas he has drawn all portrayed under different categories. He has also provided three pictures for the readers, which he cherishes the most. All the sketches are available for free downloading for personal non-commercial use under Creative Commons Copyright.

Rajan is barely forty and has a long way to go. Ganesha will take care of him, we can be sure.


Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Toll free Helpline for Ragging

Toll-free helpline for ragging

(A toll-free helpline for dealing with ragging has been set up by the University Grants Commission. The helpline will be operational round-the-clock. Immediate action will be taken within fifteen minutes by alerting appropriate authorities)

UNIVERSITY GRANTS Commission (UGC) has set up a toll-free helpline for dealing with ragging. Any victim of ragging can ring up the toll-free number 18001805522 or send an email to helpline@antiragging.net. The helpline will be operational round the clock. Immediate action will be taken within fifteen minutes by alerting appropriate authorities, be it the head of the educational institution, the district collector or the police. The monitoring of progress of follow-up activities will also included.

The anti-ragging guidelines issued by UGC defines ragging in a broader way to consider all activities that constitute ragging. They are applicable to all educational institutions both in government and public sectors including transport facilities. The culprits may be 'rusticated' for four sessions or fined up to 2.5 lakhs

The Supreme Court had recommended setting up of such a helpline only in May 2009.
The helpline is already in place now in June 2009, well ahead of the next academic session. UGC and the Ministry of HRD must be complimented on this fast move. Reports of appreciation and high hopes have come in from all sections like students, educational authorities and social activists.

The helpline will accelerate the process of booking of culprits, investigations and such follow-up actions. Success in this sphere may improve compliance on the part of college authorities; may encourage more victims to register their complaints; it may also bring about some transparency as the progress of cases in ragging will be on the website for everyone to see.

However, preventing ragging can be achieved only by changing the mindset of students. The same students who protest and detest ragging by seniors, engage in ragging when they become seniors. This is a psychological problem of just feeling superior. Only consistent counseling and constant vigil may prevent ragging.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Seven Tips for Killing Boredom

Many senior citizens have a lot of time on their hand and do not know how to kill time. Loneliness and having nothing specific to do are main factors leading to boredom and perhaps depression. We must avoid being bored at any point of time, even for a few hours. It is self defeating attitude and 'entertaining' boredom may ultimately leave us highly frustrated. Here are some tips to ward off boredom.

1. Play some Word game or number games. Even newspapers offer Sudoku, Crossword puzzles, Scramble, jumble and the like. Have a go at it – whatever you are good at. No age is old for learning new things. I have known my friends swear that Sudoku keeps them occupied.
2. Go for a brisk walk. Do some mild exercise. Just stretch your self, feet and arms. Laugh aloud if you are alone. Learn about acupressure points in your body and massage them.
Any physical activity which gives a break for 20 to 30 minutes will also break boredom.
3. Dust your old tape recorder, CD Player, Radio or World Space unit. Start listening to any music you in which you are interested. When I took to Internet in early Nineties I thought that people Search the Net for Sex mostly. No, I was wrong. Music is most searched for, even today. As they say, music is the soul of life. Listen to some soul stirring music to forget yourself.
4. Pick up your pen and paper and write a letter to a friend whom you have forgotten. Or open your laptop and compose a few messages. They could even be 'official' complaints to civic authorities on local colony problems. Why wait for the Resident Welfare Association to take action? You will be twice blessed for such pro active social work.
5. Pick up a book that have read and would not mind donating it. Write your Name & address and leave a note that anyone that picks ac read and circulate the book again. Leave the book stealthily in a park bench and see furtively who picks it up. If this works for you, read more about "Book Crossing" and do this activity systematically.
6. Go to a nearby park. Seek out another lonely senior. A total stranger is better. Strike a friendship. Then listen to him without any interruption for at least thirty minutes. Once you know the myriad ways in which people keep them selves happy / unhappy, your loneliness will vanish.
7. Meditate. It is the incessant stream of thoughts that are meaningless that bore you. Cease to think. Just sit quietly observing your breath. Wait eagerly and watchfully for a thought to occur. Ignore it. Don't let your mind chain it with something else and extend the process of meaningless wandering. Try to be in thoughtless state for a few minutes. Boredom flies.

All the tips given above are simple and practicable. No money is involved. They will take care of your body mind and soul. Just try and see.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elder Abuse Opinion Survey – June 2009 – by SSS

Elder Abuse Opinion Survey – June 2009 – by SSS

In connection with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June 2009, Society for Serving Seniors, Secunderabad conducted an online opinion poll. This was done by hosting the questionnaire on opinionpower website, which permits free polls to be conducted. The questionnaire is given in Appendix 1. Announcement of the survey was made in Yahoo group sss-global that is meant exclusively for senior citizens. This group has 525 members and is very active and vibrant with a daily swap of 30 plus messages. In addition to this the URL of the survey was also distributed to members of karmayog, Mumbai group; members of SilverInnings blog; members of verdurez which is again another website for 55plus in India. Thirty five persons participated in the online survey. Additionally, one person sent a private email with a request to maintain confidentiality.

The Questionnaire was a mixture of ‘Either Or’, “select only one among many”, “select as many as appropriate” and a few requiring textual input. Details of Name, Email address were also obtained to send the results to each of the participants.

There was one important free format text query asking participants to give a typical case study of an Elder Abuse incident known to them. There were 15 blanks, 10 case studies, seven generalized comments. One Case study was incomplete and another comment was irrelevant.

The case studies per se are given in Appendix 2. General comments on Elder Abuse are given in Appendix 3.

Answers to other questions that are somewhat quantifiable are summarized here:

a) 91% of the people feel that Elder Abuse occurs in the house. Very few participants think it happens in OAH or Nursing Homes.

b) About the query, whether it is Men or Women that suffer more, the finding is that both suffer almost equally.

c) When asked who abuses most – Care giver or close relatives or Wider circle friends and relative -- 85% felt that the Close relatives (Son / daughter / DIL / SIL) are the worst culprits. Other offenders score about 12-13% only.

d) Asked as to who take action on Elder abuse, 80% feel that the victim himself should act first. Next in importance of taking responsible step comes: Immediate relatives of the victim (61%).

e) When asked to identify the type of Elder Abuse that is more prevalent, 97% opine that Emotional abuse (scolding; not talking) etc is maximum. Neglect (not giving food or attending to physical needs) comes next 72%. Next comes financial abuse (25%). Sexual abuse is relatively rare. I feel that sexual abuse does occur majorly but it goes unreported even among close friends because of embarrassment involved.


Elder abuse is definitely a cause for concern. More and more cases are getting uncovered. All sections of the community must wake up and do their bit, instead of just talking about it on WEAAD. SCAs may start counseling groups to tackle this problem.

Appendix 1

Opinion Poll on Elder Abuse in India

Created by: Dr P Vyasamoorthy of Society for Serving Seniors

Please answer all questions. Kindly be honest.

1. Please give your Contact Details. We will use it only to send you final results.

First Name:

Last Name:


Email Address:


2. Where do you think Elder Abuse mostly Occurs? . choose one only.

At Homes / In nursing Homes / In old Age Homes

3. Which section of Senior Citizens are more vulnerable to abuse? choose one only.

Men / Women

4. Who is the abuser? Choose as many as you feel appropriate.

Care giver, maid or servant
Close realtive - Son daughter SIL, DIL etc
Wider circle - Relatives and friends

5. Who should take immediate cation?
Choose as many as you think are applicable.

Victim himeself / herself
Immdeate relatives friends
NGOs connected with Elders affairs
Govt Dept concerned
Police or Law Enfocrcement Dept
Authority of the place of occurance of EA (OAH etc)

6. What type of Elder abuse is more prevalent, according to you? Select as many as you think are OK

Neglect - Not giving food or attending tp physical needs
Sexual abuse
Financial fraud, cheating
Physical Abuse - beating, man handling
Emotional - scolding, not talking

7. If you can, please give a brief case study. Do not disclose identity of victim or abuser. Details such as victim (age, gender, realtionship with abuser, how long) actual nature of abuse, type, if any solution has been found and applied etc will be useful. Please do not bother about Engish LanguageSpelling grammar etc.

Helping you improve your world - OpinionPower.com

Appendix 2: Case Studies

Case 1. A 90 yr old widow having two living sons and daughters. No one is willing to keep her with them. When she is with one, both son and daughter in law abuse her. Unfortunately she does not want to shift to Old peoples home.

Case 2. A neighbor of mine here in Chennai, bachelor, College lecturer, retired(63 years) was with his elderly father(more than 85 years) used to beat his father everyday for not taking food or medicines and not listening whatever he says..The only solution was after few months the old man died.

Case 3. I have seen that daughter in laws not talking to their father in law specially when he is a widower and with mother in law where she is widow

Case 4. There was 80 year old man suffering from Dementia and his son had taken over/gifted father's property to himself. He started mistreating the father and neglecting him. Daughter got to know about it and bought father at her place and contacted us we first gave them medical and psycho help and then helped them with legal advisor. But sorry in this period father died and we were helpless. The current law and enforcement agency can help Senior Citizens.

Case 5. A 75 year old Mohinder Kaur in a Punjab village is forced to fend for herself for the past about ten years by her two sons and their wives.

Case 6. Victim : Parents. Abuser : Daughter. Reasons: Not able to transform her anger either with the in-laws or with the better half.

Case 7. After the age of 60 he was sick and unable to earn any more. His sons and daughters in laws scolded him blaming that he was not just with all his sons and giving importance to his daughters.

Case 8. Victims- Old Parents. Father 90 & mother 82 enough pension. Abusers: Son & DIL. Reason: Property. Old grudges against MIL. Place: Bangalore. Son living in father’s house refuses to provide food or look after physical needs. Extreme hatred and non-cooperation. Won’t help replacing mother’s pace maker battery. Recently the son poured water in mother's bed room floor and prayed aloud to GOD that mother must have a fall, fracture and suffer more.

Case 9. Old man aged 89 abused by hired home caregiver for non-cooperation. Daughter was shocked to witness the caregiver forcing the old man to get up by pulling his genitals. Caregiver was immediately dismissed. They never hired any caregiver later. Old man died of other complications a few months later in Care Hospital.

Case 10. Mother gets frequent scolding and abuse from son daughter in law has to been left alone in daytime and no scope of spending time since TV is consciously taken away from home indifference in feeding such as stale leftover food.

Appendix 3: General Comments, observations and feelings

1. It is prevalent every where at different forms and all are generally keep swallowing being at receiving end and helpless condition.

2. over burdening them with domestic responsibilities

3. I have seen several families where people were bed ridden and became a burden to themselves and the family members resulting in abuse when patience is tested and finances become major problem.

4. I along with two of my friends run an old age home for destitute. There are about 15 people there. Almost all of them were left in the lurch by their children after taking the money from them.

5. The abuse is visible & more severe if the Elder does not earn a pension or is not gainfully employed a pensioner or not

6. It is my observation first hand account with several senior citizens abuse starts at home and generally abuse at home only considered as an insult or painful for them after a life long struggle for family they feel more and more neglected. These reasons the young could not tolerate the interference of the old

7. The newspapers are full of it. Sadly it is often the daughter or son or both. It sends shivers down ones spine to even think of the day when one may not be in the best of health & spirits-physically emotionally and or financially. Longevity has brought in its wake hither to rare incidences such as these into the forefront..Each & every senior citizen needs to brace for any & every eventuality especially for those times when one loses ones life partner. One needs to become emotionally strong.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cremation or Burial: What do Senior Citizens prefer?

Cremation or Burial: What do Senior Citizens prefer?

Have you any idea whether people want to cremated or buried after death? Read the results of a brief survey and its impact on crematoria. Interestingly many want their bodies to be donated to medical schools too.

 Society for Serving Seniors, an NGO in Secunderabad recently conducted a small survey asking people – all respondents are retirees above 55 – to state how they desire to be disposed off after their death. Out of some 550 people to whom this was circulated, only 26 answered the questionnaire. The main reason for this low response is that old people do not want to discuss death and related issues!

 The results for the five options posed are given below:


Disposal Method



Cremation – wood -Traditional



Burial, Cemetery



Donated to Medical School



Cremation, Electrical



Thrown into River for fishes



Mummified & preserved




In India we continue to have traditional cremation with firewood at burning Ghats and Electric crematoria in State maintained funeral homes. The latter have come up in recent years. We being tradition bound, most people may not like to mess up with death related activities, I thought. However, much to my surprise, I find that 46% of people want to donate their bodies for medical schools and organ donation. Another 46% prefer Electric cremation but only a small percentage prefer to go in for Traditional firewood cremation. Persons opting for burial constitute just 3%.

Burial is fraught with extensive land being put to dead use. Land costs are sky rising and it is difficult to find more and more land to be allocated for burial grounds. At any point of time the total number of dead persons will always be increasing compared to people who are alive. Haven't you heard the phrase "joining the Majority" meaning "ceasing to be"? Therefore burial as a mode of disposal of the dead body should be done away with. As this is connected with religious sentiments, it is difficult but worth trying.

Electrical cremation is fast and relatively pollution free. Problem of bad smell is also eliminated. But they are power intensive. Findings of this survey call for establishing more electric crematoria. NGOs concerned with organ harvesting should increase their marketing activities and reach the right type of people so that Living Wills could be made properly.

That many persons are willing to donate their bodies after death for useful purposes is very encouraging. As already indicated most people are vary of entertaining any talk about death. And death related customs and rituals are adhered to more out of social pressure than out of free will to follow. Being ready to donate one's body for medical research involves courage and convictions. This happy trend must be encouraged by proper sensitization of senior citizens. This can be achieved through Senior Citizen Associations and NGOs working for elders.


Twitter as a Security Log for Personal Safety

Twitter as a Security Log for Personal Safety


My friend's daughter lives alone in Delhi in a private apartment. Her work necessitates late hours of working in the night. She has to return home at odd hours. She also frequently travels by train and air to other cities. Delhi being a notorious city, she would like to take a few precautions while travelling whether it is within the city and elsewhere.


Her parents are in Hyderabad. Whenever she sets out say by an auto or taxi she would send a text message to her parents. On her return home, another short SMS: "SE. GN" meaning "Safely Ensconced. Good night."  Changes in her plans for the day are also made known. Supposing she does not have anyone to 'report to' or does not have anyone bother about her, what can she do? She may want to keep a log of her movements safely elsewhere stored away for eventual usage, say similar to a black box of an aircraft.


Twitter offers a good solution. She can open a private Twitter account perhaps exclusively for such log details and share it with a couple of close friends and relatives who matter to her. All that she needs to do is to regularly send SMS based Tweets about her movements and other events to this private account. Copies of Tweets may be sent to one or two close friends who "follow" her on Twitter. Such deliveries could be on the mobile phone. Such a log will be very useful for persons living alone say single ladies or senior citizens. The sense of security it affords is immeasurable.


Should any misfortune occur or if anything goes wrong, the logs are always available for examination. It will help Police and relatives providing lot of clues. Sending SMS will not attract the attention of others around you. You need not talk which may be overheard - say while you are alone in a taxi. Even the vehicle number could be logged.


One of my friends always packs an extra pair of Spectacles when he travels out of town. Same practice is sensible for the Cell phone also.


We should put all available technology to best use. Will someone try and share his/her experience?



Case Study of an Elder Abuse in Bangalore

Case Study of an Elder Abuse in Bangalore


Victims: Old Parents; Abuser: Son & DIL; Reason: Property. Old grudges of DIL; Place: Bangalore Read for yourself how mean and lowly children could be!

Ramakrishna 90 and his wife Radha Bhai 82 are victims of Elder Abuse in their own house. Offenders are none other their own son Anil Kumar and Daughter in law Anjali.  The son lost his job when he was barely 50 and is wasting or idling at home. Children (grand children) are studying in engineering colleges. As the DIL earns, she has an upper hand over her husband. The old man gets sufficient pension of his own.

Ramakrishna has a two bed room house but he can not out of their only room 'allotted' to them.
He suffers from Alzheimers and can not look after himself.  But they share common kitchen, toilet and passage way. Old parents prepare (that is, the son's mother) their own food after the DIL leaves for office. The son is so much against the parents (they are refusing "write" their house to the son right now) that he will not entertain any  visitors of his parents. DIL Refuses to do anything connected with parents in law. She will not allow her husband to fetch even bread or milk for his parents when they are sick.

Recently when Radha Bhai went to bank to withdraw some heavy cash (10K) when she was expecting a balance of 45 K she was told by the bank that all the money has been drawn already!.Even for heating water for bathing DIL will not allow PIL to use their Electric heater (heating rod). Oldies heat their own water on gas stove (how risky). There will be a big scene if FIL picks up the newspaper bought by his

The reason for Anjali being so hard hearted is stated to be that the MIL was very strict in regard to 'madi' 'acharam' etc peculiar to Madhwa Community when DIL was young. The son locks the fridge so that it can not be used for storing milk, puja flowers or curd belonging to parents. Recently the son poured water in mother's bed room floor and was seen praying aloud to GOD that she (mother) must have a fall, fracture and suffer more.

Radha had to be operated for fully developed cataract. She requested her son to look after his father for 3/4 days. Son asked: First show me the WILL. Mother said the will is still with the lawyer. The son asked her to pack everything and go away.

The old woman has a pace maker inserted and the battery is failing and needs replacement. She also wants cataract operation done as her vision is very poor. No one would take her to hospital or help her in any way though Bangalore is full of their relatives of various ages & strengths. On a daily basis both son and DIL abuse elders verbally too.

As the old man gets a pension (about 10K) they decided to move to an OAH. They did go to OAH and got admitted paying Rs 8000/- Right on the first evening the old man (demented) created such a ruckus that he should go back to 'his' (son's) home, the mgmt of OAH sent them back in the night at 10.00 pm by taxi. A lady advocate friend who assisted them to go to OAH took Rs 1000 towards Taxi while the actual fare is Rs 300/- Everywhere they are exploited and ill treated. The old lady with her ailing husband is back to her son DIL again to face the music this time louder!

The old man asked his wife 'what to do with the wet underwear' after bathing. Radha said: bring it & put it on the edge of the cot for drying. Drying them outside is not permitted! He took the underwear,
while walking through the kitchen, jerked it briskly to throw away excess water and went to his bedroom to dry the same. Anjali  saw what happened got offended and threw away all the items she had cooked that morning stating that they would got dirtied because of the old man's action. Cooked items were covered with proper lids and FIL was far away to have any impact. She would not listen. DIL has neither heart nor sympathy whatsoever for MIL or FIL.

Radha  Bhai  got herself admitted into an OAH on her own again taking her ALD patient with her. With the help of some friend and well wisher, got one eye operated. Before the other eye could be operated
she developed infection, mostly because she was attending to her husband who was sick, unhealthy and stinking. Despite OAH staff warned her not to bother about her husband whom they were ready to
take care, she did not listen. After struggling for three weeks with infection she got the other eye operated for cataract. When that eye was just healing her husband passed away.

Anil  and Anjali  were away to GOA on a holiday – they were informed. When the son came from Goa to the OAH, the first thing he asked returned OAH staff was how much of advance is left over? This advance was paid by the old couple out of their own money.

Radha's  problems have increased. She is isolated & treated as an untouchable old times Widow. Verbal abuse, negating all physical help like cooking food, cheating her of her money -- all continue. She buys food from nearby mess. Despite a number of relatives in the city, no one would "interfere". The funny thing is that the son / DIL & their sons are still living in the Old Lady's house!

The old lady will not even now expose the happenings at home and seek external help from police or elsewhere because of stupid love or affection. Suggested solution: Educating Elders to protest openly and not to put up with such nonsense. In this case bringing social pressure and adverse publicity to the victimizers might help.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Minutes of the Meeting on Health care for Senior Citizens at Affordable Cost

Minutes of the Meeting on Health care for Senior Citizens at Affordable Cost

Arranged by

All India Senior Citizens’ Confederation [AISCCON] &

Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens’ Confederation on [APSCCON] June 7, 2009

Participants: List is attached


1.0] General -A meeting on “Healthcare for Senior Citizens at Affordable Cost” was jointly organized by APSCCON and AISCCON at Heritage Hospital on 7th June 2009. Twenty One participants attended the meeting, coming as they did all the way from Delhi, Mumbai, Guntur, and of course Hyderabad. Besides members from APSCCON & AISCCON, FAPSCO was represented by Sri Gopal Rao & Bhagawanulu; Federation of Elder Homes in AP by Dr Koteswar Rao. Representatives from Harmony, IMA, APNA were absent. As if to compensate this loss, Star Health unit connected with Aarogyasri participated with four members including their COO -- Sri RS Ganapathy. Invitees from Chennai could not attend as they were having AGM and elections today.

Sri KR Gangadharan of Heritage played the host with his inimitable and enviable hospitality as usual.

The meeting was chaired by Sri KS Sastry, most competent for the occasion, as he was the Chairman of IRDA Committee on the subject of the meeting.

2.0] Initial remarks: Participants introduced themselves. Prof Visweswaraiah welcomed the gathering. Sri RN Mital explained how heath care has become unaffordable due to rising costs, how the meager savings made during decades of service in low cost economy years is dwindling and why immediate action is necessary to support senior citizens in meeting the health care expenditure.

Mr. Mital pointed out that the mandate in the National Policy on Older Persons to provide Health Security to Senior Citizens at affordable cost was only partially implemented or ignored in most of the States in our Country. It was particularly so because there was no unified approach to this issue by Senior Citizens themselves.

This meeting was therefore, organized to arrive at a unified approach for follow up both at the State and National level

3.0] Sri Sastry suggested that both the points (unaffordable heath care costs & Concept of Family Clinics / Family doctors) be taken up together.

What they spoke: Mr. K.S.Sastry invited suggestions of the participants on the points in the Agenda

Sri D.N. Chapke said that health care should be responsibility of the government. Senior Citizens should commit themselves to an agreed line of approach.

Sri Sainath [Aarogyasri] opined that the entry of non-BPL senior citizens into Aarogyasri scheme must be automatic. That is, anyone reaching 60 should be included by default.

In Tamilnadu, Aarogyasri is already available to State Government employees. This will be further extended to others, as Star has won the bid.

Sri Karulkar suggested that all states must be pressurized to replicate Aarogyasri.

Sri IVLN Chary said that tapping hospitals of Charities and Trusts is necessary to take advantage of lower charges. He also stated that the efforts should start from grass root level, say by organizing Mohalla Committees.

Sri Gopal Rao suggested several tiers of classification based on Income and said Government must take responsibility for middle class too. He also suggested some sort of cess may be levied for generating money needed for Senior Citizens Health Care.

Sri Bhagwanulu emphasized on the role that SCAs have to play.

Dr Koteswar Rao felt that money is not a problem provided we are ready to prove our credibility. He also observed that Banks refuse to lend money for construction of Old Age Homes even when the borrower has land for mortgaging. This is proving to be a major handicap in setting up new Old Age Homes.

Sri Kaka Samant made a strong plea that Sastry Committee report should not be lost sight of. Consistent follow up is necessary.

Dr. Sugan Bhatia said that IRDA protects the interests of insurers only and in IRDA’s views Senior Citizens are not part of customers of Health Insurance. Senior Citizens Associations should have representation in Advisory committee of IRDA. Providing assistive technologies may minimize dependency on hospitalization.

Sri S.K.Mahaptra supported Kaka Samant’s views on Sastry Committee Report and felt Family clinics should be supported.

Sri Srinivasulu emphasized that there should be a separate ministry for senior citizens at state level.

He also informed that GHMC will train 100 Bedside assistants at an expenditure of Rs 4.2 Lakhs shortly. The plan of action with respect to 84 SCAs & 50 DCCs for the year has been finalized by Aasara.

Dr Vyasamoorthy said that while we approach the government we should ask only for those things that are do-able or achievable and defer items that may never be taken up by the government.

Kerala is the only state having a policy on Palliative care / Hospices

Prof Visweswaraiah read out four demands from his paper.

Sri Venkateswarlu lamented that middle class is ignored by government.

Summing up Sri Sastry summed up the discussions. He pointed out that, as far as NPOP is concerned, government suggests, in the case of APL category, only a combination of Health Insurance and public Healthcare. Subsidies towards Health Care are thought of by the Government only for BPL families. Therefore we need to go via Health Insurance channel, if we want to achieve anything. IRDA is not equipped to handle Health insurance, especially for senior citizens. There has to be an advisory committee on IRDA on this. We should continue the dialog with IRDA.

4.0] Assessment of Various Current Health Care Scheme The Afternoon session was devoted to studying alternative schemes such as Sastry Committee report , Sahayadri Scheme in Pune, Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojana [RSBY] of GOI, Yashaswani in Bangalore, and Aarogyasri in Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Mital pointed out that the health Committee of The All India Senior Citizens’ Confederation [AISCCON] has laid down following minimum requirements of an insurance scheme for Senior Citizens,

· Premium should be modest and should not keep increasing with age

· There should be no entry age bar at least for the initial period of 3 to 4 years.

· There must be no exit age bar if the premia are paid regularly.

· No bar on cover for pre-existing diseases.

· The schemes should be automatically renewable on payment of premium.

It was also felt that the segment of population which is above the BPL level but below the Income Tax level [ that is Middle Class or APL] is the real sufferer. Therefore, our considerations may be focused on this segment as our target population.

Above minimum requirements are used as the yardstick to judge the suitability of a scheme for Senior Citizens.

Sastry Committee Report -Mr.Mahapatra and Mr. Kaka Ssamanth observed that Sastry Committee recommendations were a big step forward as far as requirements of Senior Citizens are concerned. It met the requirement of providing cover without Age bar at least during the 3 year window period, covers pre-existing diseases with some conditions and also provides portability and automatic renewing and to some extent OPD treatment.

However, it falls short of our following requirements,

· Premium is likely to be beyond the reach of lower Middle Class Senior Citizens

· It keeps increasing with age as it can be loaded every year for age and health condition.

· Cover on pre-existing disease is loaded with pre-conditions which may make this facility un-acceptable; for example the Insurance Companies have laid down a waiting no claim period of 4 years before pre-existing diseases can be covered.

However, it is the most comprehensive landmark study of this subject and if it is implemented honestly, it will provide an excellent solution to the health insurance requirements of at least the upper middle class Senior Citizens. .

Saihyadri Scheme - Dr. Sugan Bhatia explained that the Saihyadri Scheme was promoted by Federation of Senior Citizens of Maharashtra [FESCOM] in Pune and a socially committed Hospital chain. It is observed that,

· The average expenses per Insured person do not exceed around Rs. 1200’per year even in a super specialty hospital and even when there is no entry or exit age bar or restrictions on account of pre-existing diseases.

· When the scheme was first introduced in 2005 the Hospital expenditure per insured Senior Citizen was only around Rs. 650.

· The number of persons who enrolled was around 17000 when it was launched with a premium of Rs. 450 per one Lakh cover, now the number of insured has dropped to about 5000 when the premium was raised to Rs 1200 per person

· Even at this low number of insured the scheme appears to have broken even and is being continued.

· The expenses per insured is high because it is a voluntary scheme and not mandatory and the group consists of only Senior Citizens [60+].

The Scheme was found acceptable and effort was made to replicate it in Hyderabad but

no Hospital was forthcoming to implement it.

Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojna [RSBY] – This scheme is similar to Arogya Sri Scheme with following features,

· It is partly subsidized by GOI

· Premium is Rs 30/year for a cover of Rs 30,000/- per family on floater basis

· No restriction on entry & exit age and pre-existing diseases.

· All most all medical procedures are covered.

· BPL families are covered.

· In Kerala it has been extended to APL families also on payment of Rs 100/- per year per family. Entire Kerala is now covered by Health Insurance.

But its negative features are,

· Cover is very small

· Family size is restricted to 5. in case of a big family, the Senior Citizen members are likely to be left out

The Yashaswani Scheme, Dr . Bhatia pointed out, is a very successful scheme in

Karnatak covering major medical procedures at a very low premium. Even at this low premium they have built up a substantial surplus, but its success is largely due to the existence of an extensive network of co-operative societies in rural areas of the State.

Aarogyasri Scheme -There was presentation on Aarogyasri from Star Health. Some points gathered are given here:

921 procedures are covered including both surgeries and medical procedures

Some 10000 screening camps have been conducted. Specialists take part in these camps. Camps are not just for identifying candidates for hospitalization or surgery. Out of 17 Lakh persons screened only three Lakh persons required hospitalization.

Aarogyamitras liaise with patients and PHC at Mandal level and within Network Hospitals and patients. The premium was initially Rs 330 per White Card Holding family, average size being 3.4 persons. It was raised to Rs 390 in a later phase.

Even a new born child is included. There is an upper cover up to Rs 1.5 Lakhs per family (floater policy).

Nearly 85% of AP population is covered! Entire premium is paid by State government without availing any Central assistance.

This scheme covers almost all the points of the minimum requirements for senior citizens, particularly the following

· All BPL families are covered under the scheme with Health Insurance for 1.5 Lakhs on floater basis. There is a provision for additional 0.5 lakhs in special cases.

· There is no restriction on the size of family. Even great grand parents can be included

· All Senior citizens who are members of a BPL family are covered irrespective of their age and the pre-existing diseases.

· Now 942 different medical procedures are covered including injuries due to accidents..

· Recently 121 ailments have been added for which OPD treatment is provided up to one year

· Senior Citizens living alone are regarded as a family unit and are covered.

· The entire premium is paid by the Government of Andhra Pradesh

The only disadvantage in this scheme is that it covers only BPL families, though some

Exceptions have been made as in the case of journalists. We have to represent to the Government that the APL families should also be covered under it.

5.0]Cover of inmates of Old Age Homes under HI – Prof Vishweswariah observed that the Senior Citizen inmates of OAH usually do not have health protection. Most of the OAH do not have adequate facility or financial resources to provide quality health care to their inmates. It is therefore, imperative that State takes responsibility of providing them health security particularly to those belonging to BPL category. The administrative hurdles should be overcome with a firm determination.

6.0] Decisions (action points) of the meeting are:

1. APSCCON to approach the State government to extend Aarogyasri scheme to senior Citizens in APL category, on premium sharing basis. Star Health promised to get back after internal discussions. Prima facie they believe it is feasible.

The other alternative is that the APL families are covered on premium sharing basis. The senior citizen members of these families will automatically get covered. The senior citizens living alone should be regarded as family units and covered. Apsccon to take up this issue with the Government.

2. AISCCON to urge other states to replicate Aarogyasri scheme and cover both BPL & APL families/senior citizens.

3. The inmates of Old Age Homes must be provided health cover, under Aarogyasri in AP and under other suitable schemes in other States. It should be taken up as a priority demand in AP by APSCCON and at National level by AISCCON.

4. Banks to be approached to lend money for construction of Old Age Homes where the borrower has land for mortgaging.

5. To follow up with IRDA with respect to:

a) Implementation of Sastry Committee recommendations for the benefit of those Senior Citizens who can afford

b) Getting Clarification on two recent circulars about renewal of Health Insurance

Policies and increases in premiums.

b) Government giving a subsidy of Rs 100 per month to buy health insurance which will

supplement the senior citizen’s efforts to health insurance.

c) Tax Concession offered under Section 80D for Health Insurance premium to be

replaced as a rebate in Income Tax.

6. Family Clinic Concept to be popularized. GHMC who have set up 50 Day Care centres in the City may be requested to arrange attendance by a Doctor for one or two hours daily in these centres.

Mr. K.R.Gangadharan [who joined for part of the time] promised that Heritage Hospital will come out with a scheme strengthening Family Clinic Concept wherein a senior citizen can get an annual check up and monthly consultancy at an affordable fee.

The meeting ended with a proposal of Vote of Thanks by Sri Venkateswarlu.

R.N.Mital Dr. P. Vyasamoothy Prof. V.Vishweswraiah

Convener Vice President [APSCCON] Secretary [APSCCON]