Friday, January 22, 2010

Social Security System India! Whose responsibility are the elders?

Jiska Koi Nahin Uska to Khuda Hai Yaaro
Main Nahin kehta Kitabon Main likha hai yaro!

Well, Here is an intersting topic that I feel is so foreign in India. Taking care of elders in Indian society. It is normally expected that the children, especially sons, take care of the parents instead of the government. India even passed a law in regards to that a few years ago, which imprisons people who do not take care of their parents. My question is, how do they apply this in practise? What if a couple has no sons or daughters or other relatives to take care of them? And, what is the definition of Elder care anyways? Another interesting thing to note in the news article is how the seniors are referred to as "inmates". Here in the Western World, that would mean "someone in a jail" or "in a mental institution". In India, the word "Inmate" is also used to refer to people in institutions that take care of the "handicapped" or "developmentally disabled" or "crippled" or "people in drug rehabilitation' etc. One such example is "Pingalwara" which is a very fine institution, but they refer to the people the same way which I think is shear habit than attitude. It is saddening to hear that the word is being used for some of these people which is no fault of their own, except for the ones on drugs including alcohol. Yes, I believe that it is a life choice and not a disease. It may be genetics but I don't really know. aAnyways, I wish there were more old-age homes for elders in India. Imagine, the good life they could be afforded. I just can't believe there is only in whole Punjab and that too was build long time ago.

Social Security — II
One old-age home for 100 in 20 districts
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
In a state of 20 districts there is only one old-age home for 100 people -- this is the exact situation in Punjab. The onus of it not only lies on the politicians, but even the deputy commissioners of the respective districts.

The interesting fact related to the establishment of old-age homes under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has been admitted by the nodal agency, Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development, Punjab.

“The department has confessed that there is only one Old-Age Home with a capacity of 100 inmates in Punjab and that, too, was established in 1961. No steps have been taken by the Punjab government for the establishment of old-age homes in each district except sending a letter to the deputy commissioners,” said Hitender Jain, an RTI activist.

On March 6, 2009, the Department of Social Security and Women and Child development (DSSWCD) had shot off letters to the deputy commissioners, asking them to hand over lands to the department for setting up of old-age homes.

“Rs 13-crore grant has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, for 2008-2009 to set up old-age homes,” states the RTI reply given by the DSSWCD to NGO Resurgence India.

Besides, the department had also asked the deputy commissioners to forward them detailed project reports (DPR) of the NGOs who were ready to run the old-age homes with a recommendation letter.

However, none of the deputy commissioners took a lead to ask for the amount that has been sanctioned. As a result, the help offered by the Government of India could not be availed by the state government.

On the basis of population census of 2001, the Government of India (GoI) had directed the state governments to decide the capacity of old-age homes depending upon the population.

According to the GoI, a district with a population up to 10 lakh should have old- age home of minimum capacity of 25. Likewise, an old-age home for 50 should be there for the population between 10 to 20 lakh, and for population above 20 lakh, a senior citizen home for 100 is required.

NGO general secretary Hitender Jain said, “If you divide Rs 13 crore in 19 districts, every DC could have got around Rs 68 lakh for the construction of an old-age home. But there is no will.” He revealed that stalling of projects due to paucity of funds was quite common in Punjab, but as far as setting up of old-age homes was concerned, funds were never a problem as disclosed through the RTI.

(Concluded)

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