Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of Tamil Nadu (FOSCATAN) joining hands with National Alliance of Senior Citizens Associations of India organised a seminar on ‘Review of National Policy on Older Persons' here at Madurai Institute of Social Sciences on Sunday.

D. Rajasekaran, president, FOSCATAN during the inaugural session said that National Policy on Older Persons, which recognises the well-being of the elderly as a responsibility of the State and envisages a positive and interventionist role for the State in empowering them in health, social, economic and emotional terms, is still confined to paper and was yet to be implemented.

The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), announced in January 1999 declared as the International Year of Older Persons by the UN. NPOP had asked the States to come out with their own policies.

Inclusion

The policy's expectations include the bringing of all the eligible and needy within the framework of old-age pension and to bring together all welfare schemes under one umbrella.

Action plan

Most of the speakers during various sessions stated that all that the policy contains is a statement that an action plan will be prepared by the government. But years have gone since the policy was announced, but no plan of action has been formulated.

The seminar was organised as part of providing advice, feedback to National Council for Older Persons under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which acts as a lobby and advocacy forum, and deal with complaints from individuals.

The following resolutions were passed at the end of the seminar by S.M. Chellaswamy, General Secretary, FOSCATAN.

A social security scheme which provides pension to every senior citizen below poverty line should be introduced.

Pension

The amount of the pension should be at a minimum of Rs.2, 000 per month.

Separate wards should be set up in all government hospitals for senior citizens treatment should be provided by physicians specialised in geriatrics . A demand was also made to medical colleges to introduce certificate courses on care taking of the elderly.Medical insurance should be given at an affordable cost.

Specially designed senior citizen-friendly buses should be introduced. Scheme for free or subsidised legal aid to meet litigation, disputes and preparation of wills were demanded. They also wanted to establish senior citizens welfare directorates by the State to implement projects to assist them. Early steps to create a registered National Association of Older Persons as envisaged by NPOP should be taken.

Participants

K.R. Gangadharan, Member, Review Committee NCOP and T.R. Dinakaran, Chairman, Sri Ramalinga Mills Group were the special invitees. G.Venkidusamy, State president TANSAF was also part of the seminar.

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