NODAL MINISTRY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WELFARE OF THE AGED MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE & EMPLOYMENT
A. NATIONAL POLICY ON OLDER PERSONS:
National Policy on Older Persons seeks to assure older persons that their concerns are national concerns and they will unprotected, ignored and marginalised. The National Policy aims to strengthen their legitimate place in society and help older people to live the last phase of their life with purpose dignity and peace. This policy provides a broad framework for inter sectoral collaboration and cooperation both within the government as well as between government and non-governmental agencies. In particular, the policy has identified a number of areas of intervention; financial security, health care and nutrition, shelter, education, welfare, protection of life and property etc. for the wellbeing of older persons in the country. Amongst others the policy also recognizes the role of the NGO sector in providing user friendly affordable services to complement the endeavors of the State in this direction.
While recognizing the need for promoting productive ageing, the policy also emphasizes the importance of family in providing vital non formal social security for older persons. (The National Policy on Older Persons 1999. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Government of India. Shastri Bhawan. New Delhi,1999)
The Implementation Strategy adopted for operationalisation of National Policy is as follow:
- Preparation of Plan of Action
- Setting up of Directorates of Older Persons in the States.
- Setting up of a National Council for Older Persons headed by minister for Social Justice and Empowerment (Representatives from Central Ministries, States, Non-Official members representing NGOs, academic Bodies, Media and Experts and Members).
- Encouraging the participation of local self Government.
- Setting up of separate Bureau for Older Persons in Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- Three Yearly Public Review of Implementation of policy.
- Establishment of Autonomous National Association of Older Persons.
Plan of Action
The Plan of Action 2000-2005 to operationalise the National Policy on Older Persons has been prepared by the ministry. The initiatives as per this Plan are to be implemented by various Ministries. It is document with endless Possibilities, which do not confine or restrict actions for its implementation. It has been circulated to all concerned Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations for implementation.
An inter-ministerial committee has been constituted which will examine and monitor the implementation of the policy. Similar exercise is underway at the State/UT levelsthrough inter-departmental committee. The implementation will be publicly reviewed every third year.
(Annual Report Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Government of India,2000-2001;Newsletter of the National Institute of Social Defence VOL3, No. 2, March 2002, New Delhi.)
B. NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR OLDER PERSONS
A National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) under the chairperson of the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment has been set up since 1999 to operationalise the National Policy on Older Persons. There are 39 members in the Council. The NCOP is the designated office for receiving suggestions, complaints and grievances from individual older persons. A seen-member Working Group has also been constituted from amongst the members of NCOP.
D. SCHEMES OF THE MINISTRY:
In order to facilitate implementation of the National Policy, and to bring about a qualitative improvement in the programme intervention of the Ministry following schemes are being implemented:
- Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj Insititutions/Voluntary Orgainizations/ Self Help Groups for construction of old age homes/multi service centres for older persons: This scheme has been revised to enhance the one time construction grant for olage homes/multi service centres. The amount sanctioned is up to Rs. 30.00 lakhs to eligible organizations.
- Project NICE(National Initiative on Care for Elderly): The aim of the NICE project is to create awareness and sensitize citizens to establish community support to the elderly.
- An Integrated Programme for older person has been formulated by revising the earlier scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for programmes relating to the welfare of the aged. The aim of this program is to empower & improve the quality of Older Persons. Under this scheme financial assistance upto 90% of the project cost is provided to NGOs for establishing and maintaining and maintaining old age homes, day care centres, mobile Medicare units and for providing non-institutional services to older persons. * (Letter no. 20-32/99-NGO (SD) dated 22nd June, 1999, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Annual Report 2000-2001 Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India)