March 31, 2010

INDIA: Senior citizens demand separate ministry

. GUNTUR, Andhra Pradesh / The Hindu / March 31, 2010 By Staff Reporter * Elderly persons in Old Age Homes denied Arogyasri benefit, says Mittal * Budgetary allocation for senior citizens dimsal, they say * 50 p.c. concession in RTC bus fares sought The All-India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON) has urged the Centre to set up a separate ministry for the welfare of senior citizens and disabled and give priority to the problems faced by the elderly in the country. In the national executive committee meeting held on the premises of Bhashyam School here on Tuesday, confederation president S.P Kinjawadakar said though senior citizens constitute 21 per cent of the total population in the country, the governments at the Centre and the State were not doing enough for their welfare. For a fair deal: A section of senior citizens at the All India Senior Citizens Confederation meeting held in Guntur on March 30. Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar The budgetary allocation for senior citizens had been a dismal one per cent of the total allocation of Rs.2,200 crore made for the Ministry of Social Justice, which was doubled this year, but a lot of money was being left unspent, he said. The National Policy of Older Persons made in 1999 was not being implemented in spirit with 22 States still not implementing it, he said urging the Government to immediately set up a bureau or a commissionerate to look into welfare of senior citizens. Confederation senior vice president and state unit president R.N Mittal said elderly persons living in Old Age Homes were denied the benefit of Arogyasri health insurance scheme and urged the State Government to issue the necessary guidelines. He also demanded that the Centre should take into consideration the recommendations made by the Sastri Committee on bringing the senior citizens into the insurance coverage without a bar on their age or health condition. The State Government should also immediately relax rules and provide 50 per cent concessions to senior citizens travelling in APSRTC buses, he added. [rc] Copyright © 2010, The Hindu.