New Delhi [India], Mar 16 (ANI): Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot said on Monday that the government is working on a national policy for senior citizens and is seeking to improve the existing law concerning their welfare.
Replying to the debate on demands for grants of his ministry in the Lok Sabha, Gehlot rejected allegations of the Congress that the government has not provided money for some schemes for weaker sections and said that a few schemes have been amalgamated for better results.
He said the government has taken several steps for the welfare of weaker sections and venture capital funds have been started to promote entrepreneurship among scheduled castes.
The House later passed the demands for grants of the ministry by a voice vote.
Gehlot said that the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which has several new provisions for the welfare of the elderly, is being examined by the standing committee.
The Bill provides that every police station has at least one official to deal with issues related to parents and senior citizens. It also asks the state governments to constitute a special police unit for senior citizens in every district.
"The work is on for national policy on senior citizens," he said.
The National Policy on Older Persons had been announced in 1999. The new policy seeks to incorporate issues such as financial and food security, healthcare and nutrition, safety and security and housing. It also takes into account demographic and socio-economic changes.
Gehlot said the number of beneficiaries for welfare schemes had increased under the NDA government and the budgetary allocations had been properly utilised.
He said the government had taken steps to tackle the problem related to drug abuse and provided assistance in setting up de-addiction centres.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused the government of curtailing budgetary provisions for welfare schemes for weaker sections.
He said a Standing Committee report in 2018 had said that there were over 42,000 manual scavengers but skills training had been given to very few of them. (ANI)