The Government had constituted a Committee on 28.1.2010 under the Chairpersonship of Smt. Mohini Giri, to inter-alia draft a new national policy on older persons. Other members of the Committee were:
(i) Shri. M. M. Sabharwal, President Emeritus, Helpage India;
(ii) Dr. K. R. Gangadharan, Chairman, Heritage Foundation;
(iii) Smt. Shielu Sreenivasan, President, Dignity Foundation;
(iv) Representatives of Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, Rural Development, Finance, Home and Women & Child Development; and
(v) Principal Secretaries/Secretaries in charge of Welfare of Senior Citizens of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
(vi) Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment as Member Secretary.
The Committee submitted the draft National Policy on Senior Citizens 2011 on 30.3.2011 which inter-alia, accords priority to the needs of senior citizens aged 80 years and above, elderly women, and the rural poor. Some of the salient policy objectives are to:
• Mainstream the concerns of senior citizens, especially older women, and bring them into the national development debate;
• Promote income security, homecare services, old age pension, healthcare insurance schemes, housing and other programmes/ services;
• Promote care of senior citizens within the family and to consider institutional care as a last resort;
• Work towards an inclusive, barrier-free and age-friendly society;
• Recognize senior citizens as a valuable resource for the country, protect their rights and ensure their full participation in society;
• Promote long term savings instruments and credit activities in both rural and urban areas;
• Encourage employment in income generating activities after superannuation;
• Support organizations that provide counseling, career guidance and training services; etc.
The Committee also suggested the areas of intervention to be made by Central/ State Governments towards implementation of the policy objectives.
The draft Policy has been circulated to State Governments, seeking their comments. It has also been placed on the Ministry’s Website (www.socialjustice.nic.in) for information of the general public and feedback, if any. The draft policy will be finalized after the process of consultation with State Governments and concerned Central Ministries/ Departments is completed.