Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Senior Citizens National Protest Day: 16th August 2010

Senior Citizens National Protest Day: 16th August 2010
An Appeal to Senior Citizens
From Dr P Vyasamoorthy, Joint Coordinator, JAC for the Protest Day

Today, senior citizens, are more than 10 Crores out of a population of around 113 Crores in our Country. According to HelpAge 66% of them can not afford two square meals a day, 90% of them have no social or health security, 73% are illiterate and can only survive by doing physical labour, and 37% are lonely cursing their age.

Our Government signed the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in 2002 when it committed to halve the old age poverty by 2015 but the reverse is happening in our Country. According to another estimate while the population of BPL category has gone down below 22%, that in case of the Older Persons has exceeded 66%. This segment thus is becoming larger and larger at the same time is getting poorer and poorer. The poorest among the poor are Senior Citizens.

All our governments - at the center and at state levels - have been consistently ignoring and neglecting the welfare of senior citizens. Major problems of neglect comprise of: Non Implementation of NPOP & MWPSC Act 2007, lack of health cover and inadequate old age pension for the poor. Take a look at this Gross Governmental Neglect
  1. 63 years have gone and we still do not have social or health security
  2. NPOP not implemented by a single State even after 11 years
  3. MWPSC Act has become fully operational only in 3 States/UT’s
  4. More than 50% BPL Senior Citizens[65+] either do not get any Old Age Pension or are paid much less than the stipulated minimum
Therefore , a large number of Senior Citizens Federations, confederations, State and national level organizations, big NGOs like HelpAge, Harmony, Dignity, Nightingale - totaling about thirty – have come together to observe “Senior Citizens National Protest Day” on 16th August 2010. On this day there will be silent and dignified protest by senior citizens in all state capitals, district head quarters and even at Mandal level. Representatives will meet the authorities like CM, Collector, MLA, MP etc and submit memorandums of demands. A common memorandum to Prime Minister is being sent from all State level and National level organizations.

On the Protest day, Seniors will take out a procession, form a human chain, hold meetings, wear black ribbon bands, distribute pamphlets and posters, display slogans, perhaps also wear visors with the caption: “ Empower the Elderly” etc. We will try to enlist the support of media – both print and electronic – and through their cooperation bring our problems to the notice of the public. Prior to that in the preceding month, there will be articles and stories in the press, online signature campaigns, articles in blogs and forums, press meetings, post card campaign etc to build up the momentum.

After all, we senior citizens form nearly 20% of ‘effective electorate’ and if we stand united the results can only be positive. For uptodate information read: http://scnpd.posterous.com/ and send your comments, if any. Please come and join in large numbers in observing the protest day and thus strengthen our, rather, your hands.

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