Social security must for senior citizens

The editorial “When being old is a curse” was timely. The social security system, as prevalent in the West, has become imperative for India. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is considering a model legislation for promoting the maintenance, care and protection of older persons on the pattern of Himachal’s ‘Parents’ Maintenance Legislation’. It would lay down legal provisions under which parents can claim maintenance from their children.

This legislation should be enacted expeditiously. But this is not enough. The courts may allow maintenance allowance, but not the emotional support, which is badly needed by the elderly in their twilight years.

In rural areas, the village panchayats and community mahapanchayats can play a positive role in prevailing upon the errant children to take care of their old parents.

The media and NGOs should spread general awareness about the children’s responsibility towards their parents.

D.P. PIPLANI, Secy, Sr Citizens’ Council (Haryana), Panchkula



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The editorial is a very sensible and rational response towards the plight of the old and infirm people of our country. Pushing helpless senior citizens out of home is a big social crime. Some sons and daughters are not ashamed of turning knives in the wounds of their own parents. Perhaps in the grim and pitched struggle of economic survival, they grow dreadfully callous, self-centred and merciless.

When even birds and animals are sensitive and sensible towards their ilk, why should we ill-treat our elders? Are we becoming heartless and shameless?



Old age is a process and everyone will become old one day. There are three types of elders — pensioners, property owners and paupers. As the monthly old age pension is too meagre, the government should help destitute elders by raising it to Rs 2,000. The states should make special budgetary allocation for social security.

There should be stricter laws for the younger generation to look after their aged parents. Errant and irresponsible children should be fined or sent to jail to act as a deterrent. The Centre and the states should help elders, especially the homeless, with facilities like free shelter, food and medicare.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


In the present-day nuclear family setups, it is not a rarity to find both the husband and wife working to cope with their ever-increasing lifestyle demands. In such a scenario, the upkeep of the elderly takes a back seat.

The following lines are quite relevant in this context: Biwi ki farmaishein, Bachon ki zid aur apni sharaab/Yeh sub tau rahaa yaad lekin maa ki davaa bhool gaya. (The demands of my wife and children, my craving for liquor I did fulfil/My ailing mother’s medicine skipped my mind.)


Uniformity will ensure equality

There is a great disparity in the pay scales of the Central and state government employees. The states do set up pay commissions, but these are aimed at buying time rather than helping the employees.

Similarly, in the absence of a uniform policy, the states sanction DA hike at their whim, putting arrears in the GPF accounts of the employees. Ideally, the Centre and the states should sanction DA hike simultaneously.

The retirement age and the holiday pattern too should be uniform for both Central and state government employees. Of course, the number of restricted holidays may differ, to suit local and regional requirements. Uniformity will cut red tape, ensure prompt implementation of the orders and, above all, inculcate a sense of equality between the Central and state government employees.

K.K. BHARDWAJ, Patiala


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