Mumbai: Ahead Of Lok Sabha Polls, Elderlies Demand Implementation Of National Policy On Senior Citizens, Threaten To Press NOTA

Mumbai: Ahead Of Lok Sabha Polls, Elderlies Demand Implementation Of National Policy On Senior Citizens, Threaten To Press NOTA

The JAC has claimed that if their demands are not met, elderly voters will choose NOTA over any party.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Friday, March 22, 2024, 07:15 PM IST
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FPJ

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, senior citizens' organisations have come together to demand their share of rights. The Joint Action Committee of Senior Citizens Organisations have demanded the implementation of the National Policy on Senior Citizens and other welfare schemes and warned that elderly voters will choose NOTA in the upcoming elections if their demands are not met.

As the countdown to the 2024 Indian general elections has begun, senior citizens have called out all the political parties regarding the issues faced by them. At a press conference organised on Friday, JAC of senior citizens organisation, a collective of 23 organisations working for the welfare of the elderly, has put out a long list of demands to be included in the election manifestos of the political parties.

If demands are not met, elderly voters will choose NOTA: JAC

The demands include financial security, health care, shelter, accessible transport and promotion of the silver economy among others. According to the committee, the population of senior citizens in the country reached 149 million in 2022, which consists of 25 percent of voting potential, and still all the political parties fail to consider the needs of this ever-growing group. The JAC has claimed that if their demands are not met, elderly voters will choose NOTA over any party.

The foremost demand of the JAC is the immediate implementation of the National Policy on Senior Citizens 2018. The elders called out the government for failing to implement the policy in the last 25 years, which was launched in 1999 as the National Policy on Older Persons. The JAC demanded a minimum 10 percent budgetary allocation of the total budget of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the cause of the elderly.

Demand for universal pension

Prakash Borgaonkar, executive director of Anand Vridhashram Seva Trust and spokesperson of JAC, said, “Our demands are the constitutional rights of the senior citizens so that they can live with dignity. Senior citizens should receive universal pension without any barrier of caste, creed or religion. Even though 80 percent of our political leaders themselves fall under the senior citizen category, they pay no heed to the problems faced by them.”

The JAC has also demanded full withdrawal of the 18 percent goods and service tax levied on elder care accommodation and services as well as on geriatric equipment and insurance premiums. The senior citizens also demanded immediate restoration of railway concession for senior citizens, which was stopped during the pandemic.

“In a country that respects older people, it is a shame that we have to fight for our rights. We should have a separate ministry of senior citizens as there is nobody to listen to our woes. At the least, the government should form national and state commissions for senior citizens to safeguard our rights. This is the semi-final election as we have the Maharashtra assembly elections also, where we will ensure that we will not vote for them again,” said Sailesh Mishra, coordinator of JAC.

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