Govt attitude to old age matters casual, says a Parliamentary pane

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) The government does not have the data of destitute on the basis of which grant is given to NGOs for Old Age Homes.

The fact has been highlighted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in its 28th report.

The Committee was of the opinion that the data could be easily collected from states/NGOs running such homes across the country and wondered how the Ministry was determining the quantaum of grants in its absence.

It has also expressed concern over the inordinate procedural delay in sanctioning proposals for old age homes due to double processing at two different levels -- first by the Screening Committee, and thereafter by the Ministry. No time limit seemed to have been fixed for sanctioning the proposals.

The Committee has found the Ministry's reply unsatisfactory, as it simply said that processing will be reviewed and efforts be made to simplify it.

''The Committee deprecates this casual approach on part of the Ministry to deal with a matter involving the interest of the most vulnerable sections of the society,'' it underlined.

It has also asked the Ministry to fix a time limit for accepting or rejecting a proposal for old age homes, preferably three months and intimate the same to the NGOs concerned by post and e-mail, besides displaying it on its website.

The panel has further found several shortcomings in other schemes for the older persons run by the Ministry.

For example, it has rapped the government for not conducting any evaluation study of the 'Assistance to Voluntary Organisations' scheme engaged in Implementing Integrated Programme for the Welfare of Older Persons', though it was being run since 1992.

The Committee has also found the scheme's performance unsatisfactory, both in terms of funds utilisation as well as coverage of NGOs throughout the country.

It has advised the Ministry to engage the services of a competent external agency to review and carry out a thorough evaluation of this scheme and take suitable measures on its recommendations.

UNI NAZ ATI BST1059

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