Parliament should approve the national policy on welfare of elderly person in view of a “grey tsunami” which is likely to overtake the nation, an NGO has told the Supreme Court.
The report on policies for elderly and suggestions was filed before a bench of Justices M B Lokur and P C Pant which took it on record and asked the Centre to go through it.
The NGO HelpAge India has been made amicus curiae by the apex court in a PIL filed by former law minister and senior advocate Ashwini Kumar seeking implementation of welfare schemes for the elderly.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 27.
The NGO in its report has said that according to the Census of India in 2011, the number of elderly people was 103 million and that it was 108 million in 2015.
Quoting a report of the Ministry of Statistics, the NGO said that the percentage of citizens over the age of 60 has jumped 35.5 per cent—from 7.6 crore in 2001 to 10.3 crore in 2011.
“There is a strong demand to revise and modify the National Policy of Older Persons, 1999. The central government had set up a committee under the chairmanship of V Mohini Giri which had formulated a draft National Policy on Senior Citizens on March 30, 2011. However, despite the passage of 5 years, the said national Policy has not been finalised and no development in this area has taken place.
“It is imperative that Parliament approves the revised policy in view of the grey tsunami which is likely to overtake us,” the report said, adding that the present National Policy of Older Persons of 1999 remains largely unimplemented and it has been able to cover only 19.6 million people while bulk of the poor older persons was still left out.
Flagging non-usage of funds despite budget allocation, the report filed by Mathew Cherian, CEO of HelpAge India, said that provisions under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 says that old age home will be built in every district, but till date not a single such home has been built.
The amicus report said that the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPCHE,) launched in 2008 for providing dedicated health care facilities to senior citizens, was to cover 100 poorest districts by 2013, but the coverage is only partial in 100 districts out of the total 622 districts in the country.