SC expresses concern over 10 crore elderly citizens of India, asks govt to prepare a welfare plan for them

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At present, India has a population of 10.38 crore senior citizens.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed concern for the over 10 crore senior citizens in the country, a majority of whom are deprived of love, care and respect by their kin in a fast-paced world. The SC asked the Centre for a roadmap to provide them basic facilities like shelter, food and healthcare.

The concern of a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit was palpable as former law minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar, who personally filed the PIL, narrated the pitiable condition in which the aged find themselves.

“We are a trillion dollar economy and yet the central government allocates just Rs 25 crore for welfare of the aged. Of this, more than half does not get spent. Mohini Giri’s report on welfare of senior citizens was given in 2011. It is yet to be acted upon,” Kumar said.

“At present, India has a population of 10.38 crore senior citizens. Their number is going to increase to 14.3 crore by 2021. It is my personal experience that their children neglect them the most to the extent that in some cases, they are dependent on neighbours for food…” he added.

Kumar said there were several welfare schemes for the elderly but successive governments’ lack of concern and lethargy towards this section of the population had rendered these schemes non-operational and defunct over the years.

The court asked Kumar whether any funds were being allocated by big companies under the corporate social responsibility head. The petitioner said not a single penny had come forth for this purpose.

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