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Integrated Programme for Older Persons, a scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is for improvement of quality of older persons of poor community. It is evident that in India, poor elderly have to live with hunger, ill-health, and negligence. They are mentally ill because of social isolation, disrespect and burden to their family. Younger generation does not recognise their contribution because of their poor economy. In fact, poor older persons are born to die poorly.

Government of India realizes the need and importance for care of poor older persons. For social security and protection of interest of senior citizen, it financially supports for running of old age home, day care centre and mobile Medicare unit for poor older persons. These programmes are usually run by NGOs under supervision of respective state government. But how much it is effective in meeting immediate needs of poor older person? After an analysis of services provided by NGOs run old age home, it has been observed that (i) older persons in old age home live in adverse condition because their shelter is poor in all respects i.e. cleanliness, small space, non-ventilation and so forth; (ii) food provided to them is insufficient and poor quality of food is not enough for good health and nutrition; (iii) healthcare and recreational facilities are almost absent or very little; (iv) no service for improvement of mental health is there; and (v) no sufficient trained professional to look after their physical and mental needs. Further, number of inmates at old age home is less than its capacity as per government sanction.

NGOs viewed regarding quality of service that Government does not release grant in time. Even, grant is pending for long time (2- 3 year). Grant amount per inmates is very much low for which NGOs are unable to maintain quality of service as per the scheme. NGOs has to pay bribe for release of grant to government officials (central and state).

The situation reminds once again what government does is only for votes. It plans and undertakes the different programme only to eye wash. Every time government strategy suffers from sickness.

It is ashamed that we live in such democratic country where government neglects its resident who are pillars of democracy.

Harasankar Adhikari is a Social Worker

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