April 28, 2010

INDIA: Senior citizens seek separate department

. KOZHIKODE, Kerala / The Hindu / April 28, 2010 'Nothing much done by the government in recent years' Government's policy for the elderly was announced in 2006 By Special Correspondent The Kerala Senior Citizens Forum, which has nearly 1,000 units across the State, has demanded a separate department for looking after the welfare of senior citizens in view of the severity of hardships facing a majority of them. P. Balakrishnan, president, K. Madhavan, general secretary, and M.K. Sathyapalan, general convener, told presspersons here on Tuesday that the demand was being raised since nothing much had been done by the State government for senior citizens in recent years though Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had announced the government's policy for the aged people. They said the announcement of the policy itself was a major achievement for the organisation since it had been pressing for it from various public platforms since 1997. The forum had prepared a 35-point action plan and submitted it to the government in 1998. After it became the subject of a debate, in November 2004, the government published a draft policy for the aged. After discussions, it was finalised and the government came out with a policy announcement on December 5, 2006. State convention: The forum would raise the demand for a separate department at its 13th State convention to be held at Sree Narayana Centenary Hall in Kozhikode on April 29. Nearly 2,000 delegates were expected to participate in the event. “Many people from villages will attend the convention in Kozhikode. About 75 per cent of the nearly 40 lakh senior citizens in the State live in villages. Among women, 70 per cent are widows, According to one estimate, nearly 89 per cent of the aged people are financially insecure. The forum is working for the welfare of this group. That is why our mission is so important,” they said. [rc] Elderly woman in Kozhikode street. Photo courtesy: Tarun Saldhana Copyright © 2010, The Hindu.