Press Release: 6th December

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Over 100 elderly people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka led by Aruna Roy and Baba Adhav marched to the Prime Minister’s house and were court arrested

Press Release

New Delhi, 6 December 2013: Today on the occasion of Ambedkar Diwas, 100 elderly people led by veteran leaders Baba Adhav and Aruna Roy marched to the Prime Minister’s house to demand accountability from the highest authority of the country.

The protesters emphasized that on this Day dedicated to Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar, Father of the Indian Constitution the government should demonstrate its allegiance to Constitutional principles by announcing immediately the revised old age pension as committed by the government in March 2013.

Holding high a placard capturing the famous words of Dr. Ambedkar which emphasized that: In politics we … recognise the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value, the 100 elderly people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka asked the Prime Minister “Pradhanmantriji, Please tell us how are we to live on Rs. 200 a month?”      

Given the fact that the unorganized sector workers who comprise 93% of the workforce contribute to the indirect taxes which accounts for 63% of total tax revenue and barely 22 % of 9.65 crore elderly were covered in the year 2011-12 under  IGNOAPS scheme is nothing short of a “ national shame” stated Aruna Roy. Stressing the fact that no society or government can claim to be just and fair if it neglects and ignore the elderly, Aruna Roy stated that “we are all here to speak to and meet Dr. Manmohan Singh both in his capacity as Prime Minister as well as a senior citizen” because we are completely overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem and the untold miseries and indignities the elderly people are experiencing”

Not to be quelled by the procrastination of the government, Baba Adahv tirelessly toured every nook and corner of Maharashtra to ensure that their voices and demands reach the capital. “Having collected over 25000 signatures endorsing the Pension Petition, I am going to hand it over to the Prime Minister in person on this Special Day to remind the government of their commitment to the elderly.”

In the letter to the Prime Minister, the Pension Parishad representatives have categorically stated that this time the elderly people have come to the capital  with both hope and determination that the assurances given by the government to revise and revamp the existing pension scheme.

The Pension Parishad a coalition of nearly 150 civil society organization, who have been sitting in dhrna at Jantar Mantar since 27 November are demanding Universal and Non Contributory Old Age Pension System to be immediately established by the government with a minimum, dignified monthly pension of not less than 50% of the minimum wage or Rs 2000/- per month, whichever is higher

The urgency is best captured by the elderly when they tell you what it means to them: “My son keeps me out of my house because I suffer from Fliaria. If I get this pension, I’ll spend it on my treatment, so that I can live in my house.”

“My children do not respect me and treat me as a burden, if I get this money, they’ll start respecting me.”

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For more information please contact:

Padmini, 9810482967 and Farah, 9560511667

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