Monday, January 28, 2013

Will SEnior Citizens finally receive their dues in 2013?

Will senior citizens finally receive their due in 2013?

 | January 18, 2013 1 Comment


The Union Budget is not likely to change anything for many of us, but for millions of senior citizens in India, it is a matter of life and death. Will 2013 be the year they finally receive their due?

The last time senior citizens in this country were truly hopeful of a better future was back in 1999, the year in which, after decades of delay, the National Policy on Older Persons was unveiled. It was even officially celebrated as the 'National Year of Older Persons'. The dawn of a new tomorrow,many said.

Thirteen years later, the act is all but forgotten. In 2007, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was introduced but is still in varied stages of implementation across the country. Whatever the Acts, progress has been slow and results, negligible. The story of the 10 crore or more senior citizens is still largely that of neglect, vulnerability, destitution and despair. That is not to say, welfare schemes were not introduced. Implementation, however, is another story. Pensions, for instance, were introduced, but are embarrassingly inadequate. Under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), more than three crore senior citizens (in the age group of 60-80) subsist on a monthly token amount of `200 a month. "Which is almost never on time, reduced to half or less, thanks to rampant corruption in the pension office and so grossly inadequate, it's shameful," rues Kiran Shukla, a Kanpur based advocate who specialises in cases of elderly abuse.

Predictably, the chief reason for the poor execution of the NPOP-99 and others through the years has remained the same — budgetary constraints. Representation after representation by senior citizen welfare groups were made to rectify the situation, with little luck. However, for the first time in 13 years, there seemed like a glimmer of hope when this year, a Working Group on Social Welfare was constituted by the Planning Commission which made a series of recommendations for adoption in the 12th Five Year Plan.


"Every time we made representations, asked about why little was being done to implement the National Policy on Older Persons, the States said they had no money, as did the government. This was because the Planning Commission did not earmark any funds for us. Due to the scale, it became challenging for us to map out the costs and estimates. So when this time, the working group made its recommendations, it rectified some of that and made an informed case," explains RN Mittal, president of AISSCON.

Among other things, the working group recommended that the New National Policy on Senior Citizens be implemented properly, health insurance cover be raised, Bureaus for Economic Empowerment of Senior Citizens at District Level and more. Senior Citizen Associations like AISSCON added their requests and asked for pension amounts, tax exemptions to be increased, setting up of Senior Citizen Welfare Boards at Centre and State Levels, and a minimum of one old age home to be set up in each district.

But despite the initial excitement, many now believe it's business as usual for the government. They say there's no point getting your hopes raised over this year's budget and that their pleas are falling on deaf ears. "Usually there's disagreement between us on the numbers. But this time the Planning Commission's own sub-committee has presented these recommendations and still the government has done nothing. There's almost nothing of substance from either our representations or the group's recommendations in Mr Aluwalia's draft of the 12th Five Year Plan. There's going to be little for us in this year budget," believes Dr Vyasa Moorthi, vice president, AP Senior Citizens Confederation.

Even as a group that currently amounts to roughly 10 per cent of the total population, at 100 million people, it's helpless, say senior citizens. "They have incorporated three or four recommendations. Which are all the ones that don't involve money," remarks RTI activist MV Ruparelia. He goes on to add, "The government is complacent because they know we can't do anything. Fine, let's assume it has no money to allot to senior citizens. But how do you explain that it won't even pass instructions to its officials to properly implement the existing acts and policies? It's indifferent to our cause."


How much, or if anything at all, of this year's budget will go towards the welfare of Senior Citizens is still unclear. What if it's nothing?"Then I guess we'll go on a rally on August 16 when it is the Senior Citizen's protest day and hope that someone will take notice. What else can we do?" Somaraju B, a septuagenarian pensioner asks bleakly.

It is a question that's better suited to the government. Because the Union Budget this year is not likely to change anything significant for many of us, but for millions of senior citizens in India, it will be a matter of life and death.

Recommendations of the Working Group ignored by the Planning Commission

Senior Citizen's groups allege that only 11 out of 30 recommendations of the Working Group were taken note of while the rest were ignored.

  1. To increase insurance cover under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna to `1 lakh for senior citizens from existing `30,000.
  2. Make provision of 1,800 crore for setting more Geriatric Centres/Wards for Senior Citizens.
  3. Enhancement of Pension under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.
  4. 14 Centres for assisted living for rehabilitation of elderly suffering from dementia etc.
  5. Setting up of National Institute of Ageing.
  6. Providing training to care givers in 100 cities.
  7. Free legal service to BPL seniors.
  8. Setting up of separate department of senior citizens.
Crucial issues still in debate
  1. Enhancement of Pension under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme. Proposal for a universal pension of `2,000 for all BPL senior citizens with 50 per cent more for 80+.
  2. Establishment of one Old Age Home per district.
  3. Proper implementation of the NPOP-99.
Senior Citizen  Fact File
  1. India has the second largest aged population the world.
  2. Current number of senior citizens: An estimated 100 million
  3. By 2050: 326 million
  4. Below Poverty Line: 33 per cent
  5. Within the next five years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5.

Source: HelpAge India


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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

MCI directs doctors to prescribe generics

Generic medicine sales get a booster dose

Rupali Mukherjee, TNN | Jan 26, 2013, 02.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's strong pitch for generic
medicines may finally bear fruit. The Medical Council of India which
regulates the doctor fraternity and promotes ethical standards, has
directed doctors, hospitals and medical colleges to prescribe generic
medicines as far as possible. Generic medicines are more affordable
versions of branded medicines sold by companies.

In its directive sent out on January 21 to dean/principals of medical
colleges, director of hospitals, presidents of all state medical
councils, the MCI has said that every physician should, as far as
possible, prescribe drugs with generic names and ensure that there is
a rational prescription and use of drugs. All doctors registered under
the MCI Act have been asked to comply with the directive.

Though the directive may not be a direct fallout of the actor's
efforts, it did turn the spotlight on the issue. Over the last couple
of years, there have been a slew of efforts taken by the government to
end the doctor-pharma nexus, stem unethical practices and bring down
prices of medicines. When contacted, MCI chairman K K Talwar said :
"The directive is a bid to educate the medical community, including
doctors and make them aware about the increased availability of
generic drugs and to make them more affordable as well. We need to
instill confidence in people about the use (generic versions)".

Though the government has opened retail stores, which market generic
medicines — Jan Aushadhi — in certain states, availability of quality
generic medicines is a huge concern.

Doctors are of the view that quality drugs should be prescribed. Says
Dr Anoop Misra, chairman Fortis Centre of excellence for diabetes,
metabolic diseases and endocrinology: "For patient-benefit and best
possible results, highest quality drugs with best possible
pharmacological properties should be used by all doctors. If quality
of generic drugs is up to high standards, doctors should prescribe
generic medicines".

Industry experts however said the move may not benefit patients as it
may not lead to a significant price reduction. Says Indian
Pharmaceutical Alliance, secretary general D G Shah: "If the
government is able to ensure the quality of generic medicines, then it
will be beneficial. Patients are not aware the quality of medicines,
and will have to depend on chemists. It may lead to a chemist-pharma
nexus from the much-discussed nexus between pharma companies and

Last year in a bid to promote generic medicines, the health ministry
ordered states to stop issuing licences in brand names. The move has
not benefitted patients as companies continue to market the medicines
in brand names.

Also, concerned with increasing complaints of unethical marketing
practices, the department of pharmaceuticals initiated an exercise to
introduce a code of conduct for the pharma industry. The code of
conduct has not been finalised as yet.

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eight Legal Rights every woman must know.

Following article is of interest to us senior citizens as well.
Rapists target everyone right from a three old child to frail and
fragile senior citizens. I first saw this in Vintage Vishka - went to
origional source source for the purpose of easy cut& paste.


8 legal rights every woman must know
Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 30, 2012
First Published: 14:56 IST(30/12/2012)

As a woman, you are entitled to some rights by law that protect you
when you have been violated. Here are some that you should be aware

Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman who has been
raped can record her statement
before the district magistrate when the case is under trial, and no
one else needs to be present. Alternatively, she can record the
statement with only one police officer and woman constable in a
convenient place that is not crowded and does not provide any
possibility of the statement being overheard by a fourth person. The
police have to, by law, protect the woman's right to privacy. It's
important for the person to feel comfortable and not be under any kind
of stress while narrating the incident.

The police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable
period of time has elapsed since the incident of rape or
molestation took place. If the police tells you that they can't lodge
your FIR since you didn't report it earlier, do not concede. "Rape is
a horrifying incident for any woman, so it's natural for her to go
into shock and not want to report it immediately. She may also fear
for her safety and the reputation and dignity of her family. For this
reason, the Supreme Court has ruled that the police must register an
FIR even if there has been a gap between the report and the occurrence
of the incident," says Tariq Abeed, advocate, Supreme Court.

A rape victim can register her police complaint from any police
station under the Zero FIR ruling by Supreme Court. "Sometimes,
the police station under which the incident occurs refuses to register
the victim's complaint in order to keep clear of responsibility, and
tries sending the victim to another police station. In such cases, she
has the right to lodge an FIR at any police station in the city under
the Zero FIR ruling. The senior officer will then direct the SHO of
the police station concerned to lodge the FIR," says Abeed. This is a
Supreme Court ruling that not many women are aware of, so don't let
the SHO of a police station send you away saying it "doesn't come
under his area".

According to a Supreme Court ruling, a woman cannot be arrested after
sunset and before sunrise. There are many cases of women
being harassed by the police in the wee hours, but all this can be
avoided if you exercise the right of being present in the police
station only during daytime. "Even if there is a woman constable
accompanying the officers, the police can't arrest a woman at night.
In case the woman has committed a serious crime, the police has to get
it in writing from the magistrate explaining why the arrest is
necessary during the night," says Bhaumik.

Women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation under
Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This law
provides Indian women the right of not being physically present at the
police station for interrogation. "The police can interrogate a
woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family
members or friends," says Abeed. So the next time you're
called to the police station for queries or interrogation when you
have faced any kind of harassment, quote this guideline of the Supreme
Court to exercise your right and remind the cops about it.

Acase of rape can't be dismissed even if the doctor says rape had not
taken place. A victim of rape needs to be medically examined as per
Section 164 A of the Criminal Procedure Code, and only the report can
act as proof. "A woman has the right to have a copy of the medical
report from the doctor. Rape is a crime, not a medical condition. It
is a legal term and not a diagnosis to be made by the medical officer
treating the victim. The only statement that can be made by the
medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity.
Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion and the
doctor can't decide on this," explains Bhaumik.

Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed.
Neither the police nor media can make known the
name of the victim in public. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code
makes the disclosure of a victim's identity a punishable offense.
Printing or publishing the name or any matter which may make known the
identity of a woman against whom an offense has been committed is
punishable. This is done to prevent social victimisation or ostracism
of the victim of a sexual offense. Even while a judgment is in
progress at the high court or a lower court, the name of the victim is
not indicated, she is only described as 'victim' in
the judgment.

It is the duty of every employer to create a Sexual Harassment
Complaints Committee within the organisation for redressal of such
complaints. According to a guideline issued by the Supreme Court, it
is mandatory for all firms, public and private, to set up these
committees to resolve matters of sexual harassment. It is also
necessary that the committee be headed by a woman and include 50 per
cent women as members. Also, one of the members should be from a
women's welfare group.

Companies helping Senior Citizens as a part of CSR

Learning to embed tweets in Blog Post. Excuse me if you see same text in many places. Below is the actual embedded document from Google Docs === ===

Sunday, January 13, 2013

HelpAge Advantage Card


HelpAge Introduced HelpAge Advantage Card some ten months ago. By simply filling up an application form anyone who is 55+ can get a card. Possession of this card has very many advantages. Most importantly you can get good discounts on a variety of products and services. Besides this, it can be used as an ID card (not for govt purposes though). Members can interact among themselves and read a blog. There are 1 Lakh members now. Some 600 establishments (shops / service providers) have tied up with HelpAge as associates.

Their website gives a lot of information. You can easily find where, in which city you can find discounts. Database is easily searchable by city, category and subcategory. I could locate a good number of shops in Hyderabad.

Some of the adavantages mentioned are yet to be put in place. Use them and see.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dakshinamurthy of Vizag

Meet Mr Dakshnamurthy of Vizag   

Today I went to attend Sports Day in Senior Citizens Forum, Secunderabad. There were more than 70 members and some rare faces  included Sri Mital, Sri Gururajan, Sri Moghe etc. Many persons participated in Lemon and spoon race , Running race, Shot put etc. As time was short some events were postponed. I was surprised when the secretary opened a large carton of gifts to be given away. There were so many prizes, I think every one who participated got one! I heard names like Sri Valli and Dr BG Krishnamurthy again and again.

 Apart from this, Sri Nemeli Vittal Murthy (NVM as we know him) introduced to me his BIL by name Sri Dakshinamurthy. He is a fascinating person. This septuagenarian, born on 18th July 1936, is essentially an Electrical Engineer from Guindy Engineering College Madras. He worked long years on TISCO and retired in 1996 as Divisional Manager there. He and NVM (of SAIL), you can see, have an iron bonding!!  

 Now comes the interesting part! All through his life, Dakshinamurthy wanted to learn music. While a student, his father prevented him concentrating on anything other than studies. Thereafter, work and family ate away all his time. After retirement he set is heart on his pet project. He signed up for a one year Karnatic Music appreciation course in Sangeetha Gana Kuram run by Kotapathy IVL Shastry. Next he continued a regular course for five full years. Today he is a vocalist invited to participate in Thiagaraja Aaradhana Festivals! His daughter is a popular Music teacher and an AIR artist of great repute. 

 When music runs in his blood can age stop it? I was drawn to his singular passion for music which he pursued after retirement. A fit case study for U3A researchers. A case of productive and positive ageing. This is his way of tackling loneliness, boredom, depression etc - as he has none of these!!! Music keeps him alive and happy.


Sri Dakshinamurthy

30 Annapurna Apartments, Lawsons Bay Colony Visakapatnam 530011

Phone 08008117276 / LL 2539015