The thrust of the letter explains the indifference of Planning
Commission towards concerns of senior citizens and urges Smt Sonia
Gandhi to remedy the ills of elderly poplulation by allocating
sufficients funds in the next five year plan. NAC is meeting on 27th
December Hence the Urgency. Thanks a lot Mr. Ruparelia for a well drafted
letter. This is the need of the hour indeed.
M.V.Ruparelia, A 503 Rashmi Utsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park,
Mira Road (East), Dist. Thane-Maharashtra-401107. E/Mail:
Smt Sonia Gandhi,
Charperson, National Advisory Council,
2 Motilal Nehru Place, New Delhi-110011.
Sub: Draft 12th Five Year Plan to be discussed on 27-12-12.
We, 12 crore Elders of the Country, are disappointed to see 2 page-9
paragraphs from 24.233 to 24.242 on Senior Citizens in Final Draft of
12th Five Year Plan to be discussed on 27-12-12 in NAC. Elders of the
Country look to you for making proper provisions in this Plan, you
also being one of the Elders. As you are aware a National Policy was
announced in 1999 after Cabinet`s approval on 13-2-99. Large number of
provisions are remaining unimplemented even after 14 years due to
Planning Commission & Finance Ministry not making available the
required funds to various Stake Holders including States/UTs, though
required to do so under para 93. A glance at 12th Plan Final Draft to
be discussed with NAC on 27-12-12 will indicate as to how much and how
sincerely Government is providing funds for welfare of other weaker,
vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of the Society like
SC/ST/OBC/Handicaps/Disabled/Minorities but step motherly treatment is
given to their Elders, who are more abused at present than so-called
abused communities, more disabled & more handicapped than certified
disabled & handicaps and in minority (10%).!!
Nodal Ministry had given various recommendations for inclusion in 12th
Plan after considering practical difficulties felt by them in
implementing the Policy in time but only few were accepted by Working
Group on Social Welfare of Planning Commission, which gave about 30
recommendations (2.8.1 to 2.8.15, 2.9.1 to 2.9.15) in October, 11. It
is observed from Final Draft placed on Web Site that about 11
recommendations are taken note of out of more than 30 given by Working
Group. No cognizance is taken of the following recommendations of
i) 2.8.3 : To increase Insurance Cover under
Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna to Rs 1 lakh for Senior Citizens.
ii) 2.8.4: Provision of 1800 crore for setting more
Geriatric Centres/Wards for Senior Citizens.
iii) 2.8.5: Enhancement of Pension under Indira Gandhi
National Old Age Pension Scheme. Many MPs have represented from time
to time, the last being through Unstarred Question in Rajya Sabha vide
Question no. 1853 dt 30-8-12 to increase this pension to Rs 5000 p.m.
During Nationwide agitation Pension Commission of Smt Aruna, Member of
NAC, Rs 2000 minimum was demanded.
iv) 2.8.7: 14 Centres for Assisted Living for
rehabilitation of Elderly suffering from dementia etc.
v) 2.8.9: Setting up of National Institute of Ageing.
vi) 2.8.11: Providing Training to Care Givers in 100 cities.
vii) 2.8.14: Free Legal Service to BPL Senior Citizens.
viii) 2.9.1: Setting up of Separate Department of Senior
Citizens. At present, subject of Drug addicts is also attached.
Department is understaffed.
ix) 2.9.3 to 2.9.10: These are important matters
required to be reflected in Plan.
x) 2.9.11: Weekly Programme of 1 hour on Doordarshan
will go a long way to establish awareness amongst Society. Similar
Provision for Private Channels also must be provided by legislation or
xi) 2.9.13 to 15: Very important Provisions to be
enforced and provided in Plan.
According to News, Planning Commission has turned down the proposal of
Ministry Of Social Justice to provide Old Age Homes for destitute
Senior Citizens at district level as Central Scheme on the plea that
this involves non-recurring expenditure only and as such States have
to provide funds and not the Planning Commission. In the final draft
also, Planning Commission has insisted on States to provide funds for
this huge work.This scheme of providing Old Age Homes for destitutes
is statutorily provided in Sec 19 of Maintenance & Welfare of Parents
and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and Rules framed there under. 150
destitutes in such Homes are to be provided from day one, nutritious &
wholesome diet; adequate clothing from time to time; linens,
sanitation, hygiene, security arrangements; transport to nearby
hospitals; premiums for health insurance; electricity, fans, heating
arrangements during winter; recreation facilities; televisions,
newspapers, books; managing staff etc. All these require recurring
expenditure much more than initial non-recurring expenditure of
providing Homes. Argument of Planning Commission that this involves
only non-recurring expenditure is apparently not correct.
Working Group on Social Defence constituted by Planning Commission
for formulation of 11th Plan had recommended to transfer this to Plan
Head to facilitate establishment of Old Age Homes on large scale.
Ministry of Social Justice had also formulated the Scheme to construct
300 such Homes at a cost of Rs 635 crore during 11 th Plan. This was
not accepted by Planning Commission, though Rs 60 crore was provided
in 11th Plan Period and matter was postponed for discussion in Working
Group of 12th Plan!! Planning Commission was not interested to
facilitate provision made in Statutory Act, 2007!!
Working Group of 12th Plan examined the whole issue in depth and not
only recommended funds for generation of Awareness of this Act, 2007
but also Rs 1680 crore for assisting States to discharge their
statutory duties of providing Old Age Homes during 12th Plan. Para 93
of National Policy, 99 also lays down that Planning Commission &
Finance Ministry will facilitate budgetary provisions required for
implementation of the Policy, 99. Act, 2007 is the outcome of this
Policy, 99 and Planning Commission cannot deny the provision of
sufficient funds even to States/UTs for this noble cause statutorily
provided in Centrally Sponsored Act, 2007 for benefit of 3546.8 lakh
BPL Elders of the Country. If not provided, no Homes will be
constructed by States/Uts as not done since 2007 to 2012!! As
repeatedly brought to your notice for last 3 years of our agitations,
large number of provisions of NPOP, 99 are not implemented by stake
holders & States due to unhelpful attitude of Planning Commission &
Finance Ministry in not providing funds, as laid down in Policy, 99.
We request You as one of us as well as Chair Person of NAC to look in
to this unhelpful attitude of Planning Commission and get sufficient
funds provided for your 12 crore Elders in 12th Plan.