IN THE HON’BLE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (C) No. 193 of 2016
IN THE MATTER OF:
Dr. Ashwani Kumar ……………..Petitioner
Union of India and Ors. ……………..Respondents
SUGGESTIONS AND THE WAY FORWARD BY AMICUS
The report provides by Government of India does not have any suggestions for improvement of the current schemes available for the elderly. There are 108 million older persons in 2017 and cut of which more than 50 % are below the poverty line (Dr NC Saxena’s report). Subsequent report by the Rangarajan Committee placed the poverty level at 40 % of the rural population. Irrespective of the reports the level of poverty is very high among the elderly with no work or no pensions.
A. Old Aqe pensions for the elderly
1) The provision of Rs 200 rs per month as old age pension mocks the constitution and the dignity of old people who have contributed to the country. This amount provided is abysmally low and that too of the 108 million only 28.9 million receive any pension from the Central Government. This leaves out at a very large population of about 4 crore elderly. We recommend a uniform universal pension of Rs 2000 (two thousand ) per month for the elderly. In 2013 we had recommended to the Parliamentary Committee of the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry chaired by Mr Hemanand Biswal the amount of 1000 Rs ( which is recorded in the report). In 2017 with inflation and consequent indexing it wall be Rs 2000/– which is half the minimum working wage as prescribed by Government of India.
2) The NSAP guidelines provides for social audit of the pension delivery system. This is never fulfilled and the Ministry of Rural Development may be directed to ensure social audit in every pension scheme and direct the states to implement the guidelines issued.
3) All states are willing to give more pension but they do not have the finances and will need financing by the Central Government. India has a GDP of 2.3 trillion dollars. France provides 11.5 % of GDP for social security and Italy provides 12.3 % for social security. Brazil another developing country provides 4.5 % of its GDP on public provisioning of old age entitlements.
4) In case Rs 2000 is given as pension per month it will cost 1.81% of the GDP and if a figure of Rs 1000 is given as pension it will be 0.91 % of the GDP and a total annum cost of Rs 91,776 crores. In order to pay just 5.551 lakh defence and civil pensioners the government of India spends 57.405 crores. The amount of 91,776 crores for 90 % of the elderly will go a long way to restore the dignity of the elderly. This is an action which Government can take to improve financial security and social security for older people and will ensure the fulfillment of Art 21 of the constitution for older people.
B. Creation of Infrastructure and Facilities for Elderly
1) Establishment and Construction of adequate number of old age homes with appropriate funding in each district. to be maintained with adequate standards as are necessary to enable the elderly to live their life with dignity and in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution of India and, Section 19 and other provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007. There needs to be at least one home per district in 707 districts which will be able to house 106,050 older indigent persons at the rate of 150 older persons per home. There are 500 persons in every district of India who are indigent ( source WHO study) . This indicates that there will be 353,500 older indigent persons requiring high level of care and this will need at least 4 old age homes per district to restore dignity in life.
2) State Governments should ensure that Government Hospitals or Government aided hospitals provide beds for all sensor citizens as per the provisions of section 20 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007, ensuring that there are earmarked facilities for geriatric patients in every district hospital duly headed by a medical officer with experience in geriatric care in all 707 districts
3) Central assistance should be provided for the construction of old age homes in each district of the country.
4) Establishment of full-time Tribunal and Appellate Tribunals in every state as mandated under section 7 and 14 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007, respectively and District level Legal Service authority to assist older people in district tribunals.
C. Implementation of Programmes:
1) Implementation of the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly throughout India and creating Geriatric Centres in all the 707 districts of India.
2) Implementation and enforcement of Universal Old Age Pension Scheme which provides for periodic revision in the monthly pension of the elderly and additional pension in case of disability, loss of adult children and concomitant responsibility for grand-children and women.
3) The system of National Allocation for Old Age Homes generated on the basis of old age population in each states by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment must be activated and the States shall be directed to identify and recommend adequate number of feasible new project proposals as well as to recommend the ongoing/continuing projects in the first quarter of the Financial in order to enable the Ministry to release the grants well in time within the Financial Year. In future grants need to be decentralized to state governments.
4) The National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly shall be made effective to facilitate dedicated geriatric health care facilities to senior citizens in all the 707 districts (above 60 years of age) at primary, secondary and tertiary stages.
5) Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna which has been made into should be universalized to provide the older people sufficient health insurance and endeavour shall be made to make it a reality in all the 707 districts.
6) Implementation of the Antyodaya Yojana which provides food grains to households on the basis of either a house hold belonging to the priority category (5 kgs per person per month) or the Antyodaya category (35 kgs to each household), households consisting of more than five members their entitlement to 35 Kgs of food grains should be protected and an additional 7kgs per person within the household should be ensured and extra ration cards should be provided to such households exceeding five members.
D. Implementation of National Policy I Creation of Advisory Bodies
1) Implementation, enforcement and finalization of the National Policy on Older Persons which has been under review for 6 years achieving the desired objectives.
2) An autonomous National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) headed by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment as envisaged under the Resolution dated 22.02.2012 should be set up to promote and co-ordinate the concerns of older persons and should meet 4 times a year to monitor the schemes and programmes in all the states.
BY MATHEW CHERIAN
HELPAGE INDIA — AMICUS