Politics

‘Jan Gan Man Ki Baat’, Episode 133: Adityanath’s Ram Statue and Caring for the Elderly

Vinod Dua talks about the UP chief minister’s plan to build a Ram statue as part of religious tourism in the state and the lack of strong public policies for the elderly.

In today’s episode:

Adityanath’s priorities

Sixteen children died at BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur within 24 hours last week. While the lack of medical facilities and the death of children continue to make headlines in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Adityanath is focusing his energies on a 100-metre statue of Ram to be built in Ayodhya, to add to the state’s religious tourist site. To put things in perspective, the Taj Mahal was recently removed from a UP government brochure. Given all of this, and the fact that healthcare in the state clearly needs urgent attention, does Adityanath need to rethink his priorities?

India’s elderly

About 9% of India’s population are senior citizens. For the elderly who are not well off, there is no social security net in India. The concept of old age homes is also still new. Those who fall in the below poverty line category only receive a very small pension from the government. In 2011, the draft National for Senior Citizens said that pensions of Rs 200 or Rs 500 won’t change anything – all senior citizens should get at least Rs 1,000 per month. This policy has not yet been implemented, and while some states did increase pension amounts, many still haven’t. What this means is that lakhs of people who contributed to the economy all their lives are now living in poverty. Former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar has filed a PIL on the matter, which demands that the pension for senior citizens be raised to Rs 2,000 a month. The prime minister still has a year and a half left – will he work to make the lives of India’s senior citizens easier?