Major relief for senior citizens in Tamil Nadu

The GO has fixed minimum and essential standards for these old age homes.

Chennai: In what has come as a big relief for senior citizens, the Tamil Nadu government has passed an order to regulate commercial old age homes and free old age homes (run by NGOs with Centre’s grants) in the state.

The GO of February 9 by the social welfare and nutritious meal programme (SWNMP) department, which has taken immediate effect, has fixed minimum and essential standards for these old age homes.

The order says all old age homes should be registered with the district committee headed by collector. The panel is empowered to cancel license/registration of old age homes, which do not follow minimum standard fixed by the state.

P. Sivasankaran, principal secretary, SWNMP department, said this in his action taken report filed pursuant to a direction by the Madras high court on January 11 directing authorities to take appropriate action to ameliorate the problems of senior citizens and submit a report.

The bench gave the directive on a PIL S. Krishnamurthy, which sough a direction to government to frame regulations and appoint a regulatory authority to monitor the functioning of senior citizen homes.

When the matter came up before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M. M. Sundresh, on Monday, petitioner submitted the GO was not comprehensive enough to deal with all issues. At times, if accountability of the home was questioned, food supplied to senior citizens was stopped, he alleged.

Government pleader assured that if any complaint was received, it will be addressed by the social welfare officer and monitored in terms of the GO and that every endeavour will be made to strictly enforce it.

To find out whether any improvement needs to be made to the G.O, the Bench permitted persons having interest or stakes to make suggestions to government.Necessary publicity should be given in this behalf within two weeks.

The suggestions can be processed and the picture emerging from the same should be sent to the Centre, which should make available its comments to get a final picture within four weeks thereafter, the court said. Impleading the Centre, the court posted the matter for further hearing on April 28.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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