Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Note on budget of MOSJE - allocation for PD and Senior Citizens

A Note on budget of MOSJE – allocation for PD and senior citizens

Total Annual budget allotment for MOSJE 2500 Crores
Budget for Disabled &SrCit -> 9.3% --> 232.5 Crores
Expenditure on SrCit -->
       OAP 16 crores (not from MOsje budget)
       Integrated Program 10.36 (out of budgeted 22 crores)
Total --> say 27 crores ; This works out to  less than 10% of Disabled + SrCit Budget and constitutes  about 1% of ministry's budget. 
Population: Senior Citizens 60+ --> 7.7 crores out of total 102.9 crores
                  Disabled --> 2.19 cr out of 102.9 cr
MOSJE Budget & Expenditure 2010-11 on PD &Sr Citizens
Total Mosje Budget for 2010-11 --  Rs 4300 crores

Senior Citizens
% of population
% of expenditure
Of total budget
% of population
% of expenditure of total budget
(2.2 cr)
(7.7 cr)


Mosje spends 8.71% of its budget on Disabled welfare who are just 2.19% of  total population while  it spends only 1.69% of its budget on senior citizens who form 7.5% of population.  Partisan and neglectful attitude towards senior citizens can’t be exposed better.

Can you compare the figures for latest years?

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

This is a scheme whereby the Ministry of Social Justice distributes assistive devices to disabled senior citizens in camps organised for this purpose. Please read some info from the ministry published recently.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, Shri Gehlot said that this new Central sector scheme has been formulated in pursuance of the Budget 2015-16 announcement and is 100% funded by the Central government. This scheme aims at providing Senior citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested. This scheme first of its kind in the country, is expected to benefit 5,20,000 senior citizens over a period of three years. These devices will distributed free of cost in Camp mode. It will be launched on 1st April, 2017 in District Nellore in Andhra Pradesh followed by on 8th April, 2017 in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. 

My observation on the above: MOSJE has always been  partial in its dealings with senior citizens and disabled persons. They allocate and spend money disproportionate to the population of these two sections under ministry control. See my note here made some years ago. This disparity and injustice continues.

Ministry on its own has scheme for distributing assistive devises to the disabled. That work being done for senior citizens among the disabled is now getting highlighted as if some great benefit is extended to seniors. It helps only disabled and only those in BPL category and that too distributed over many years. Even in initial three year period not even a third of disabled senior citizens will be covered. If the ministry is serious about it, why not distribute assistive devices to all disabled senior citizens in one year -- through state govt departments, instead of several camps over many years?

Do you agree? Please share your views.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hundred percent of survey respondents hate TOI ADs

I conducted a survey among TOI readers asking them:

Do you like first page / front page of TOI containing full page AD?
Do you like half (vertically) cut page in place of full page as first page?
Do you like the long thin right vertical strip of a projecting advertisement in TOI?

All the respondents invariably replied that they hate them. Earlier they had other things to hate, now it is ADVERTISEMENTS proper.
However as it happens with all surveys, here's customary caution: A larger study is needed to vindicate / support the findings. Current sample size: three; myself and my two daughters.

[ Times of India, Advertisements, Survey, Readership Survey]​

Monday, March 6, 2017

Lifelong Learner: An inspirational example

Lifelong Learner: An inspirational example

“After nearly seven decades I was in a class room as a formal student” said Mr RN Mital, about his participation in a one day training course on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Funding  organized by Navjeevan Center for Development in Hyderabad in March 2017. It was a fee based event and Mital wanted to learn about the intricacies of securing CSR funds for projects concerning senior citizens. He sat through the course for 8 hours, interacted with a number of NGO participants and came back richly rewarded. Not that he is a novice in the field. Having been associated with the problems of the elderly in India for the past 15 years, he is fit enough to talk on the topic with authority. In case you do not know, he maintains a blog of his own for the spreading the cause of Corporate Social Responsibility.

In fact he has been invited as a key note speaker in many events organized by leading associations and apex bodies. He was nothing less than the President of All India Senior Citizens Confederation for two terms. He was a member of National Council of Senior Citizens and a member of a committee on elders' welfare on NHRC. He, by himself, has conducted several meetings, conclaves, seminars etc on the subject of CSR. And senior officers in MOSJE, MOCA etc know him. But then what prompted him to take up a formal paid training program? His zeal and passion to know more and more and the eagerness to equip himself fully and to establish himself as an authority on a topic close to his heart.

I salute the Lifelong Learner in him. It is not easy to spend a whole day as a pupil in a classroom, keeping in mind that he is 90 plus. Hats off to RNM.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

An important task that all senior citizens should pay attention to is to the get their papers in order. All important records from birth to death and after – are they easily retrievable by you or others in need? 

Judy Rough, in a video session entitled “Getting your Ducks in a Row” during the Virtual Summit [26th Feb to 4th March 2017] organized by Age Without Borders, showed how to handle above questions. Personal identification records, medical / health records, financial investment papers, home, inventory and property documents, insurance, photos, videos, will, passwords, wallet contents etc --- you must listen to her at least just to look at the list and type of papers / documents to think about. I was amazed at the exhaustive list of items we should bother about, but don’t. She touched upon both physical and digital records maintenance. She said she got inspired in this area  after observing her father who did a meticulous and perfect job of handling records and documents.

Inspired by Judy’s talk, I wish to share info on digital documents storage facility for this problem.  Google Health provided such a facility for medical records alone for some years but was discontinued in 2011. Govt of India has started a free service called digital locker at: https://digilocker.gov.in/ or https://digitallocker.gov.in/ This is  service available to  all Indians to safely keep all records like birth certificate, educational records, Aadhaar card, ration card, driving license, Will etc.  The website holds some 165 crore Documents (from 45 lakh registered users) in safe custody already, proving that it is gaining popularity and confidence of people.

Once you register yourself and link your Aadhaar things start rolling. You can upload any document you need to retrieve (only pdf gif jpg formats for the time being). In the case of certain govt issued documents like Driving License or School certificate you can request concerned agency to upload it from their database. Keeping your driving license in the digital locker helps you flash it to anyone who may ask for it right from your mobile phone – no need to carry plastic card!  However, this part is still under development. As far as other documents of your own are concerned, you need to scan them into jpg or gif format. The site is relatively easy to use and reliable. It is also highly secure as explained in its FAQ.

Of course regular bank lockers are available for safe keeping originals of land records, Will , mortgage documents etc. We need to make an inventory of all important papers, sort them into folders, file them, index them showing location and method of deletion / removal / transfer etc. This may appear to be lot of work but worth it. Especially for senior citizens as their memory is unreliable and you cannot predict what you need when.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Power of giving back and Active Aging by Armoogum Parsuramen

Power of giving back and Active Aging by Armoogum Parsuramen

I watched a video session on the fourth day of “Aging without Borders Virtual Summit”. The speaker was introduced by Moira of Pass it on Network. Armoogum Parsuramen from Mauritius, popularly known as Parsu, is the founder of four leading organizations: Global Rainbow Foundation taking care  of physically handicapped persons, University of Third Age in Mauritius, Senior Citizens  Solidarity Foundation and International Tamil Diaspora Association.

The University of Third Age Mauritius started three years ago runs 25 courses and enjoys a strength of 1000 students – as you may guess all are senior citizens. Senior Citizens Council is the apex body uniting some 760 Senior Citizens Associations. Mauritius, he calls is a rainbow country meaning it is a multi cultural society which enjoys unity in diversity. Senior should live in harmony with nature and other sections of the society, he says. Being ever grateful for God has given him his philosophy is: “Earn, Learn and Return”. Giving back to society is essence of his living.

Talking of International Tamil Diaspora, he described briefly about Thirukural written by Thiruvalluvar some 2000 years ago. The teachings enshrined in it are relevant even now. Translated already into 45 languages Thirukural enjoys global appreciation. He spoke of events coming up in May 2017 and in 2020 in India. In fact, I was drawn to his talk as I am a Tamilian myself.

He says building a network is hard work but if you are keen and committed to serve the society, help comes from all sides making your dream a reality. God-fearing Parsuramen believes in universal spirituality and claims that FAITH does bring about miracles. Presently he is engaged in removing computer phobia among the elderly – he has made hundreds get interested in skype, browsing, twitter and Facebook. Shortly they are planning memory training  programs with a view to mitigate problems due to Alzheimer’s disease.

I am proud to be a member of Asia Pacific Alliance for U3A where Parsu is also a member. Parsu’s talk demonstrates what one can achieve in life if he has determination. Perfect living example of active aging, indeed.