‘Senior citizens have right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation’ - Eastern Mirror
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‘Senior citizens have right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation’

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Jul 17, 2021 10:39 pm
K Wango Langsym (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, July 17 (EMN):
The need for providing quality life to elderly people was highlighted at the one-day seminar organised by Nagaland Senior Citizens Helpline at Conclave Conference Hall, LCS building, in Kohima on Saturday.

Assistant Director of Social Welfare, K Wango Langsym said at the event that there are 57,400 beneficiaries in Nagaland under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAPS) with 51,750 of them in the age group of 60-79 and 5650 in 80 years and above category.

He informed that under the IGNOAPS, which is implemented by the department of Social Welfare, beneficiaries under 60-79 years group get INR 200 per month and those aged 80 years and above get INR 500.

He maintained that a large number of eligible beneficiaries in the state were still not covered owing to the ceiling set by the Union Ministry of Rural Development. He added that the department had pursued with the Centre on this.

Pointing out the challenges, he highlighted that only few beneficiaries have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, while adding that there was challenge to move to Public Financial Management System despite directives from the Ministry.

The official asserted that senior citizens have emotional, physical and social needs and the inherent right to life, dignity and integrity and also the right to be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Senior citizens have the right to be free from discrimination, he said, adding that their well-being has been mandated in the Constitution of India. Article 41, a directive principle of state policy, mentioned that states within the limits of its economic capacity and development should make effective provision for securing the right of public assistance in cases of old age.

There are other provisions like the National Special Assistance Programme (NSAP), he added.

Meanwhile, retainer lawyer from Kohima District Legal Services Authority (KDSLA), Sunjib Rana spoke on highlighted the various amendments of the Act in 2011 while speaking on ‘the maintenance and welfare of parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007’.

Dwelling on the Act, the lawyer said the bill was passed to provide maintenance support to elderly parents and senior citizens, whereas the Act established the maintenance tribunal to provide speedy and effective relief.

Rana had also dwelled on the implications of the Act, informing that in the event of no children or grandchildren, an elderly person can claim maintenance from the one inheriting the property.

He also informed that any person who is responsible for the protection and care of senior citizens and intentionally abandons them is liable to pay a fine of INR 5,000 or be imprisoned for three months.

Further, he stated that the state government must ensure that all government hospitals and aided healthcare facilities arrange separate queues and beds for senior citizens. Meanwhile, all district hospitals should ensure special facilities for senior citizens and each district should have one old age home for poor and needy.

Panel lawyer from Kohima District Legal Services Authority (KDSLA), Asenla Walling spoke on the focus, roles and services being provided by the legal services authority. She stated that legal services authority was not just to take up legal cases but to educate and create awareness about individual’s rights and legal matters.

She also informed that they offer free legal services to the less privileged, those from below poverty line (BPL), widows and juveniles.

Meanwhile, Programme Manager of Nagaland Senior Citizens Helpline (NHSC), Neithonuo Liegise highlighted various challenges and trends related to the elderly people.

She stated that the helpline was started to facilitate happy and healthy ageing by serving the senior citizens compassionately and to make a positive difference in their lives. They created a reliable national helpline which acts as a platform for redressing the grievances of the senior citizens, by providing necessary information and intervention through highly committed partners including government agencies, non-profit organisations and volunteers and caregivers.

She stated that the helpline provides information to elder care service providers, pension, govt. schemes, benefits etc., based on caller’s requirements; guidance — guide senior citizens on legal and pension-related issues; emotional support providing counselling support; and if required connect with partners specialised in it.

Liegise informed that the helpline provides direct field intervention for rescue and reunion of homeless elderly, arranges accommodation in old age homes managed by NGOs or government-run facilities and facilitates the process towards reuniting the elder persons with the family.

The helpline team also assists senior citizens in getting their abuse complaint resolved through maintenance tribunal or with the help of other stakeholders, she said, while stressing on the need for providing quality life to elderly people in the society.

The helpline number for senior citizens is 0370 – 2290278 and its office is located at CK Arcade building, first floor, Opposite Head Office, Kohima.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Jul 17, 2021 10:39:02 pm