Udupi: September 30, 2015: Udupi Zilla Panchayat is all set to add another feather to its cap by winning the national award in recognition of the quality services rendered to the senior citizens, in the district.
The award for the Best Zilla Panchayat rendering best services to its senior citizens will be given away on the occasion of Senior Citizens Day, on October 1 in New Delhi. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh with a citation.
“The State government had recommended the name of Udupi Zilla Panchayat for the award along with other districts. However, Udupi was chosen based on various parameters. Udupi Zilla Panchayat is catering to the needs of senior citizens in the best possible ways. The amount will be utilised for the benefit of the senior citizens,” District Empowerment officer for Differently Abled and Senior Citizens Niranjan Bhat told sources.
He said the award is given in recognition of the quality services rendered to the senior citizens in the district. “The action plan on how to utilise the amount will be chalked out once the award money is released. The blue print of the plan mainly focuses on the care-taking measures, specifically on setting-up a day care centres for the senior citizens as the district does not have such centres. However, the plans will be discussed with the members of the Senior Citizens Forum before embarking upon any decision. They have certain demands. The issue will be taken up with the Forum and the basic needs will be considered on priority,” he explained.
The recognition is for the effective implementation of programme under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act - 2007. A review committee under zilla panchayat CEO at the district -level is set up for monitoring the effective implementation of the programmes. The programmes are funded by the Department of Empowerment for Differently Abled and Senior Citizens . The priority is given to ensure that the identity cards are distributed to all senior citizens in the district. NGOs are entrusted with the responsibility of distributing the ID cards to all senior citizens at the taluk-level, the officer said.
The main programme which is recently implemented is offering, financial assistance to the old age homes which comprises 25 beneficiaries. The zilla panchayat gives Rs eight lakh per year for the old age homes. Currently, Anagha, an old age home in Kedur in Kundapur is chosen under the programme. The district also has a helpline for senior citizens to receive the grievances. The programme is funded by State government and gives Rs 7.15 lakh per annum. The helpline has one coordinator and three councilors. The issue pertaining to the property disputes is referred to the AC court for the early disposal. The programmes are reviewed by the CEO, he added.
The officer said that the department has also taken up awareness programme at taluk panchyat and gram panchayat levels, to create awareness senior citizens about the welfare schemes.
He added that health camps are also conducted regularly.