Some Salient points about Tenth Annual Conference of All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON) held at Mathura, UP from 21st to 24th October 2010
The tenth Annual Conference of All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON) held in collaboration with the Senior Citizens Welfare Association, Mathura and which recently concluded at Brindaban, UP , was a phenomenal success in many ways.
The All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON) is the largest national organization with a membership base of 7 lakh members from different states and union territories in India. It is head quartered in Navi Mumbai. It is actively engaged in various welfare activities for Senior Citizens and advocacy with authorities on their concerns and problems.
It has been organizing regularly for the past ten years (since 2001) an annual conference on various themes concerning older persons with a participation of more than 700 to 800 delegates from all over India. This time more than 1400 delegates from every nook and corner of India gathered to discuss problems faced by Senior Citizens, especially women. HelpAge and Department of Science and Technology partly sponsored the event. Very popular MLA from Mathura, Sri Pradeep Mathur, was a pillar of great support.
Dignitaries who graced the Conference included: Sri BL Joshi, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Sri Bhupendra Singh Huda Chief Minister of Haryana, Sri Pradeep Jain, Minister of State, Rural Development, GOI, and Sri Sabarwal, President Emeritus of HelpAge India. Sri Napolean, Minister of State, Social Justice and Empowerment, who had confirmed his participation, could not make it at the last moment. Well known for his sympathy towards senior citizens in Haryana, Sri Huda promised a donation of Rs 10 lakhs to the All India Senior Citizens' Confederation [AISCCON]. Sri Mathur, MLA, was with us throughout the confeference.
Several resolutions were passed during this historic meet on important issues like: Implementation of National Policy on Older Persons, fully subsidized health insurance for BPL and on graded sharing basis for APL category of older persons, implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens' Act by all states without further delay, increasing Old Age Pension to Rs 1000 per month from the current Rs 400 per month, concessions in Bus and Train travel, separate Ministry exclusively for Senior Citizens, parity in payment of pension to retirees of Central and State Government and Public Sector undertakings, etc.
A very important decision which was taken was to urge the Government to provide subsidized health care to widow senior citizens irrespective of whether they belong to BPL or APL category. This decision was taken in view of the rampant negligence of the health care of widows. Welfare of older women was the central theme of the conference.
Another important resolution was to ask the Government to provide fully subsidized health care to the BPL inmates of Old Age Homes and payment of Old Age Pension to all those who are eligible; in short their wellbeing should be the National responsibility.
Immediately after the conference, a delegation led by Sri RN Mital, President of AISCCON and Sri Pradeep Mathur, MLA Mathura, met Smt Sonia Gandhi. Appearing to be fairly well informed of senior citizens' issues and problems, she promised to look into the possibility of setting up a separate Commission for Senior Citizens Welfare. AISCCON had been demanding that a separate Ministry and a Commission to be set up exclusively for Senior Citizens. She was also very positive about affordable health insurance for older people and the implementation of various schemes for the welfare of Senior Citizens.
The delegation also called on the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
It may not be out of place to mention that the softening of the Central Government towards problems of Senior Citizens is probably the consequence of Senior Citizens National Protest Day observed on August 16th all over India and that was widely covered by the press and electronic media.
This Note has been jointly written by Sri RN Mital and Dr P Vyasamoorthy