The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, which has been under constant pressure for the last four months from Umang Foundation, a public welfare trust, has finally prepared an Integrated Scheme for Older Persons to prescribe minimum standards for the old age homes and to start day care centers for senior citizens. The draft scheme is pending with the government for approval since 22nd July, 2012. Now, the foundation has urged the government to approve the draft scheme before the State Assembly elections to avoid further delay.
Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation, distributed the draft scheme in a press conference here today and also made suggestion to improve the same. He said that he had first highlighted the issue of gross human rights violations in the Old Age Home at Basantpur in Shimla district on 1st April, 2012. This matter was also raised by a MLA in the state Vidhan Sabha on April 5, 2012. But the State Social Welfare Advisory Board, which runs the Home and the government had refuted the charges of human rights violations in the Home. But when Mrs. Urmila Singh, the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, took serious note of the matter, the government had to order inquiry on 19th July which has just concluded.
In between a severely disabled and mentally sick inmate Kedar Singh died in the Home without getting proper medical and mental health care and another disabled inmate Hari Ram, who is a profound deaf, ran away from the Home in mysterious circumstances fearing he would not be cremated as per Hindu rites in case he dies in the Home.
The objective of the scheme, as mentioned in the draft, is “to improve the quality of destitute older persons by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, health and social opportunities”. It is mentioned in the scheme that not only quality nutritious food and clothing would be provided to the inmates but their recreational requirements like TV, books, magazines, newspapers, outings, religious and cultural programmes, games like carom, chess cards etc. would be well taken care of. The scheme has special provisions for their health care. Health cards of the inmates shall be maintained and special programmes for yoga; meditation etc. shall be arranged for the inmates. The details of diet, clothing and bedding etc. have been mentioned in the scheme with minimum standards pertaining to accommodation.
It is pertinent to mention that if the scheme gets the final nod from the government, an Old Age Home with minimum 25 inmates will get Rs.13,98,000/- P.A. and an additional one time grant – in- aid of Rs. 200,000/- The scheme says, “A committee headed by the Principal Secretary (SJ&E) to the government will monitor the scheme at State level. After every three years, the implementation of the scheme will be evaluated by an independent agency.”
There is a provision of Day Care Centres in the scheme for Senior Citizens in urban areas. Facilities like health care, recreation, counseling, peer interaction, entertainment, spiritual and religious programmes will be provided in the Centres. The government will give Rs. 320,000/- to each Centre P.A. plus an additional one time grant of Rs. 420,000/-
Ajai Srivastava said that a post of warden and full time nurse should also be included in the scheme. Apart from this, routine mental health check up of all inmates of the Homes must be ensured. He suggested that all Old Age Homes should be in cities so that the inmate do not feel isolation.
There are about fifteen senior citizens in the Lalpani area. According to the scheme and policy being prepared and approved by the State Government under this Department, a day care health centre should be set up below the Directorate of Education and above the Government School, Lalpani, so that the senior citizens residing in the should get the benefit of this scheme. If any government representative visit the area and contact me , I will suggest the place where the day health care centre could be set up for the senior citizen so that they may be able to get the benefit of this Schme. Sita Ram Dhiman,
Respected Editor normally I see in all over India our senior citizens verbally physically abuse in homes from family members not good need a good pension free medical facility free bus services free homes for homeless senior citizens in Himachal Pradesh our senior citizens look after the children when children grow up after marriage our new generation forget our senior citizens and start abuse shouting so need a strict laws for safety of our senior citizens thanks
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