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Social security law for the aged soon

Special Correspondent

The Bill will convert moral duty into legal duty


  • The measure will prevent marginalisation of an increasing elderly population
  • Himachal model Bill provides for old-age pension

    NEW DELHI: The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry is formulating model legislation for the social security andprotection of older persons.

    The Bill seeks to address the financial, housing, clothing and companionship requirements of the elders with help from their families or the State Governments for those living below the poverty line, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar said on Tuesday.

    The legislation would prevent marginalisation of an increasing elderly population, she said inaugurating a two-day conference of the State Social Welfare Secretaries here.

    A deterrent

    Meant to act as a deterrent, the draft legislation, with a provision for maintenance of the old people, would convert "moral duty" into "legal duty." It would call for the setting up of tribunals at the sub-divisional level for getting aged parents maintenance from their children. The Bill would also provide for old-age pension, setting up of at least one old-age home in each district and specific health provisions.

    Persons with disability

    Ms. Kumar said the National Policy for Persons with Disability was also under deliberation. Education of children with disability was the Ministry's primary concern as early intervention was required for their enrolment in schools. She called for skill development and affirmative action programmes for disabled persons in the productive age group to facilitate their mainstreaming through employment.

    The Minister appealed to the State Governments to make all public buildings, roads and transport barrier-free to ensure easy access to the physically challenged.

    Child-friendly rehabilitation

    The Ministry was in the process of getting the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 amended to make rehabilitation mechanisms child-friendly. Calling for special attention by the State Governments, she said a recent evaluation of juvenile justice homes showed that due attention was not paid to the children in need of care and protection, and much less to those in conflict with the law.

    According to Union Social Justice and Empowerment Secretary Sarita Prasad, seven State Governments had already sent in their comments on the proposed Bill for the aged. Representatives of the State Governments participating in the conference supported enactment of a law, which would be on the pattern of the Himachal Pradesh Parents Maintenance Legislation. It was suggested that pension be uniformly provided on the beneficiaries attaining the age of 60 and that the Centre and the States share the additional financial burden.

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