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More smiles for the neglected elderly in UP

Neglected elderly parents and other senior citizens in Uttar Pradesh have a reason to smile. Brajendra K Parashar reports.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2009 23:03 IST
Brajendra K Parashar

Neglected elderly parents and other senior citizens in Uttar Pradesh have a reason to smile.

After almost all other States have done it, UP is also gearing up to notify and implement The Maintenance And Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act-2007 that provides not only for maintenance and welfare of the elderly through a legal framework but also seeks to penalize those not taking care of their old parents.

However, the financial cost involved in implementing the Act that among other things requires the State to set up at least one Old Age Home with the capacity of 150 persons in each district, is what is acting as a hitch. So, besides, demanding the Centre to grant it Rs 240 crore it will require to spend during next 3-4 years to operationalise the Act provisions, the State Government is also looking at alternative models, including the possibility of roping in NGOs, to partially offset the financial impact.

Chief Secretary, Atul Kumar Gupta was scheduled to hold a meeting to take stock of preparations to implement the Act in the State and related issues, here on Tuesday. However, the meeting was deferred at the last moment.

Principal Secretary (Social Welfare), Prem Narayan, when contacted said the State Government was ready to implement the Act. “The State Government has started making serious attempts in the direction towards implementing the Act for the welfare of the elderly people” he told the Hindustan Times. He said the Government was examining various possible models that could be adopted to implement the Act provisions effectively with the least financial burden on the exchequer.

Under the Act, the State will be required to set up a tribunal to be headed by an SDM in each Tehasil, with the DM being the Appellate authority. This, the Government, feels will not entail any financial burden; neither will medical care in any substantial manner. What will really require funds is setting up Old Age Homes in districts and imparting special training to cops and equip them suitably to protect life and property of the elderly, it is said. “But the Act, if implemented properly will be a boon to the uncared for old parents and other desolated elderly people who are increasing under attacks by criminals,” said a senior official.

About the Act

*The Act is very brief with just 32 sections.

*It exclusively applies to senior citizens who are above 60 and makes abandonment of elderly parents a cognizable offence.

*Provides for summary proceedings within 90 days by the SDM Tribunal.

*Tribunal can pass an order granting R 10,000 as maintenance and sons/daughters etc not abiding by orders within a month may cool their heals in prison for a month.

*Act provides for preferential treatment to the elderly in hospitals like separate queues and treatment on bed.

*Senior citizens cannot be represented by any lawyer under the Act, which will have an overriding effect.

*A senior citizen who has transferred his property to his son, daughter or near relative by virtue of will or gift can get the same cancelled, if he or she feels neglected.

Welfare measures that the State is required to take

*Better medical facilities.

*Old Age Homes at least one in each District.

*Institutionalization of suitable mechanism for protection of life and property of senior citizens.