The National Policy on Older Persons-2013 cannot be executed due to the absence of legal framework.
A law is necessary to implement the national policy, which aims to ensure a comfortable life of the senior citizens by giving them various facilities.The government declared the people above 60 years of age ‘senior citizens’ in 2013.
However, a five-member national committee has drafted a law titled ‘Probin Unnayan Foundation Act-2017’ in this regard.
A member of the committee said the draft has been sent to the ministry concerned.
But he is not sure whether the draft law will be passed during the tenure of the present government.
After the enactment of National Policy on Older Persons in 2013, the social welfare ministry requested the ministries concerned to ensure three special privileges to the senior citizens.
The special privileges include health, transportation and accommodation.It means that the three sectors will provide facilities to the elderly people with low costs.
But nothing is yet to be implemented, according the experts on elderly people.
Shamsul Huq, 70, hailing from Mymensingh, was seen standing in a queue for long at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for a USG test.
When asked whether he has got any special facility from the hospital, he replied in the negative.
Asked whether he knows about the three facilities they deserve as per the social welfare ministry, he said he was unaware of the matter.
Like Shamsul Huq, most people are unaware of the matter.
Even, the authorities and staff of transport and hospitals are also uninformed about the issue.
When contacted, Prof ASM Atiqur Rahman, a member of the national committee, told the daily sun that the policy needs a law to be implemented.
Atiqur, also secretary general of Bangladesh Association for the Aged and Institute of Geriatric Medicine (BAAIGM), says, “We have made a draft law ‘Probin Unnayan Foundation Act-2017’ and sent it to the Social Welfare Ministry for vetting.”
“After vetting, the draft law will be sent to the Cabinet Division and later to the National Parliament for enactment. If the law is enacted, the policy can be executed.”
“But I am not sure whether the draft law will be passed in the tenure of the present government. Actually, the issue of old age complexities does not get priority at all places. But I am hopeful that it will happen soon,” he said.
In reply to a question, the professor said health, transport and accommodation facilities for elderly people could not be implemented.
He said the elderly people are being provided with such facilities in India.
When contacted, Gazi Mohammad Nurul Kabir, director general of Department of Social Services (DSS), said that if the Probin Unnayan Foundation Act is enacted, the foundation will oversee the whole matter regarding implementation of the policy.
Asked whether the three facilities are being given to the elderly people, he said these are under process.
“Our struggle continues but it will take time,” he said.