A helpline, a dedicated cell in the civic body for assistance, and a recreation centre in each ward - this is what the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has promised senior citizens in the city.
On the occasion of World Geriatric Day on Monday, the civic body announced the proposed policy for senior citizens, promising the elderly monetary and other benefits.
According to the policy, a special committee, comprising the municipal commissioner, additional municipal commissioner, civic officers concerned and representatives of senior citizens, will be formed to understand problems faced by the elderly and measures that can be taken to solve them. The committee will meet once in three months.
The policy has proposed a 400 sqft recreation centre in each ward for which corporators are permitted to spend from their funds. The centre will have entertainment facilities, and a library, among other things. Also, a special helpline and a dedicated cell will be set up for speedy assistance to the elderly.
"Senior citizens are the fastest growing sector of the population, but remain neglected. There is a need for a special welfare policy for them. Apart from reserving four seats in BEST buses, we have not done much for them," said Vinod Shelar, BJP corporator, who had demanded the policy in the corporation house earlier this year.
The proposed policy has recommended free health check ups and medication for senior citizens in civic hospitals. Those in need will be provided financial help, while several civic hospitals will have 'memory clinics' to help the elderly suffering from memory loss problems.
According to the 2011 Census there are around 12 lakh senior citizens in the city. More than 21% live below the poverty line.
"The proposal will be presented in the corporation house and corporators submit their suggestions. After discussion, the final draft will be accepted," said Sunil Prabhu, mayor.