Violence against elderly persons continues to exist in society in one form or the other. With an aim to help the senior citizens, Elder Line, a National Helpline for Senior Citizens was on Monday inaugurated by Kyrmen Shylla, Social Welfare Minister in a program held at the Conference Hall of the Directorate of Social Welfare, Shillong.
It is the first pan-India toll-free helpline— 14567 called the ‘Elder Line’, which will provide free information, guidance on pension, medical and legal assistance, besides giving emotional support, intervene in cases of abuse and rescue homeless elderly.
By dialing a toll free number – 14567, senior citizens across the State can now access information on health care, elder friendly products, old age and shelter homes. Through the Helpline guidance on pension related issues, Maintenance Act and legal issues will also be provided.
The Helpline has been initiated and funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, Senior Citizens Division.
Addressing the gathering, Kyrmen Shylla informed that the process of setting up the Helpline was initiated and the Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India and the Government of Meghalaya, Social Welfare Department and PACE computers was signed on January 15, 2021.
In view of the transformation of the societal structure which has resulted in the breaking away of the joint family structure to the nuclear family structure, a large population of elderly population has been left with no or little support, care and treatment they deserve, he added. To come to the aid of the senior citizens, the Government has come up with numerous welfare schemes/programmes implemented through the Social Welfare Department, Health Department, Community and Rural Development Department, Food and Civil Supplies Department etc.
Shylla also informed that the Government is planning to establish old age homes in every District of the State in the next five years and the Department will provide adequate budget provision in the next financial year for construction of a permanent Old Age Home at Mawkasiang to cater to the need for shelter, food, medical requirement of the elderly having no family support.
Others who spoke were Sampath Kumar, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department and C. C Sohliya , Programme Manager, Elder Helpline Meghalaya.