August 17, 2010

INDIA: Senior citizens protest state apathy at massive rally in Mumbai

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About two thousand senior citizens, representing 20 organisations of senior citizens, protested against the non-implementation of the ‘National Policy On Older Persons’, which they said has aggravated the problems of senior citizens across the country.  The Mumbai newspaper, DNA reported this on August 17.

This protest was a part of an all-India ‘Senior Citizens National Protest Day’. The policy was formed in 1999 as a guide for addressing the problems of senior citizens, but has not been implemented widely.

Other major demands of the senior citizens included a provision of health insurance for all senior citizens without any age-related or pre-existing health condition restrictions.

They also demand the immediate implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, provision of old-age pension to eligible persons, 50% concession for railway and state bus fares for all senior citizens, an exclusive ministry and national commission for older persons at the central level, and declaring a 60 year age limit for all schemes concerning senior citizens.

After the protests, a delegation of four senior citizens met Maharashtra's minister of state for social justice Sachin Ahir at the Mantralaya.

“Ahir agreed, in principle, with most of our demands,” said SP Kinjawdekar, president, All India Senior Citizens’ Confederation.

Kinjawdekar added that Ahir assured them of the Act’s implementation within 3 months of the law department’s recommendations.

Related report

MONEYLIFE, Personal Finance Magazine, carried an extensive news item on the Senior Citizens' Protest and commented:  Thousands of senior citizens sporting black bands around their arms and shouting slogans like "we want our respect" or "shame (on the government)" staged a protest in Mumbai and other parts of the state and the country yesterday. They wanted better health insurance schemes from the government, immediate implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (MWPSCA).

Senior citizens ask for better health insurance schemes from the government, immediate implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons along with the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act.