Senior Citizens in Telangana having higher access to protected water supply
Study recommends Capacity Building of Panchayati Raj Institutions by NIRDPR and State Institutes of Rural Development to spread information about Government programs for senior citizens welfare.
Major study on Senior Citizens by National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), Hyderabad, has found that households in Telangana had much higher access to protected water supply through taps compared to Chhattisgarh. The study also found that a higher proportion of households had toilets in Chhattisgarh (87%) compared to 64% households in Telangana.
Increasing proportion of ageing population, a global phenomenon, has hit Indian shores by the early decades of 21st century. The population of 60+ years old is 103.8 million, which was 8.58% of the total population of India in 2011. According to a 2016 Govt. of India report on elderly, the general population in India grew by 17.7% during 2001 to 2011 whereas population of the 60+ age group grew by 35.5%.
The ‘Study of The Policies and Programs for Senior Citizens in Telangana and Chhattisgarh’ was conducted by Dr. K. Prathap Reddy, Team Leader and Visiting Professor, NIRDPR, and Mr. M. Dharma Reddy, Team Member. The objective was to map policies, legislations and action plans for the aged and elderly to understand the initiatives of different States.
A major recommendation of the study was to undertake Capacity Building of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as awareness about the government programs for senior citizens was abysmally low. Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) can play an important role in spreading information about government programs. Institutions such as NIRDPR and State Institutes of Rural Development with help of NGOs should undertake capacity building programs for staff and elected representatives of PRIs in this regard.
Speaking about the importance of this study, Dr. K. Prathap Reddy, Team Leader and Visiting Professor, NIRDPR, said, “Senior citizens are not a burden to the family and society. Their knowledge, experience, and wisdom are precious assets which they can share as mentors, coaches, advisors and counsellors. All of us will one day become senior citizens. Their wealth of experience, wisdom and knowledge will be of immense help to the society. Especially, the services of elderly technologists, teachers, professors, researchers and scientists, which are neglected now, need to be properly utilized.”
The study was conducted in Telangana and Chhattisgarh. With 480 respondents selected from 6 villages in each State.
The other major findings of this study include:
* Except for old age pension, widow pension, and mobile health care facility, very few respondents were aware of other government programs meant for the elderly, but those who have availed the benefits of the programs and/or were aware of them gave a very positive feedback on the programs in terms of adequacy, accessibility and importance
* Respondents from Chhattisgarh scored higher on all the wellbeing measures compared to the respondents from Telangana
* Majority of the respondents were poor–belonging to BPL category in both States
* Proportion of illiterates among the respondents and their spouses was much higher in Telangana compared to Chhattisgarh
* While there is supposed to be at least one old age home in each district, 31 old age homes were found to be operating in only 7 out of 31 districts in Telangana, and 21 old age homes operating 14 out of 27 districts in Chhattisgarh
* Total number of senior citizens is higher in Telangana (32.70 lakhs) compared to 20.03 lakhs in Chhattisgarh. This difference is mainly due to the total populations in the two States and differences in socio-economic development
* Implementation of Integrated Program for Older Persons (IPOP) schemes is poor in both the States, except for Old Age Pension. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, is implementing IPOP since 1992 to improve quality of life for senior citizens by providing basic amenities
* Chhattisgarh Govt has started distributing physical aids & assisted living devices worth up Rs. 6,900 per person since 2016. Telangana has no such program
* Proportion of Scheduled Tribes is much higher in Chhattisgarh whereas Scheduled Castes were higher in Telangana
* Only about 50% of the respondents were presently working whereas all of them worked in the past, mainly as wage labor
* In both the States, more than 65% households used services of government hospitals, mainly due to cost considerations
* Attitude of young in the family towards their elderly was found to be good or very good in both the States compared to the youth in general
* More than 30% of the respondents were using tobacco products. Regarding alcoholic products, the total number of respondents using alcoholic products
The study also found that regarding food habits, milk and pulses were consumed more often as per respondents from Telangana, whereas respondents from Chhattisgarh consumed vegetables and fruits more often. Almost 99% of respondents could move with or without walking aid and could take care of daily chores without assistance.
The recommendations suggested by the NIRDPR study include establishing a day care center, which will be the fulcrum for all other interventions for senior citizens and forming self-help groups of senior citizens to enable physical and social securities.
Senior Citizens Cards must be issued to all the SHG members to avail the health and nutrition services and linked with mid-day meal scheme of the Anganwadi for providing lunch and dinner with the day care center. The study also recommended mandatory registration of all old age homes being run in the district by NGOs, Trusts, and others. The respective District Collectors should monitor their functioning and a separate section may be created in the Collectorate for this purpose. This section may also monitor the functioning of all other schemes meant for the senior citizens.
At the State level, the study recommended establishing an Old Age home in each Assembly Constituency and creating a separate service center for the elderly at all the major hospitals. This center will help the senior citizens to get speedy medical help.
As mandated in Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007, senior citizens in every police station area should be provided security by that police station. It should be made mandatory that the in-charge of the police station should be accessible to every senior citizen in its jurisdiction through his mobile phone. Every complaint from a senior citizen should be attended to on priority basis.