NEW DELHI: All preparations for the launch of Elder Line a toll-free helpline for senior citizens facing abuse and to assist elderly residents in need have been made in the national capital.
The social welfare department of the Delhi government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HelpAge India, a leading non-profit organisation working for disadvantaged elderly people, to run the helpline, which will provide information, guidance, emotional support and field intervention for elderly persons in distress.
The project is part of the Centre's pan-India initiative, which will be launched soon. According to government officials privy to the development, the implementing agency (HelpAge India) has already appointed one project manager, four team leaders, eight call officers and five field response officers (FROs) for smooth functioning of the helpline.
The department is likely to set up a help desk in all district offices for the redressal of grievances lodged by elderly citizens through the Elder Line.
"A toll free number 14567 has been procured, which will be common across all states. HelpAge India has recruited its team and has started training its team members. A dossier on schemes of various departments is also being compiled to offer assistance to people. This dossier will include details of the provisions for senior citizens in various schemes. We have done preparations from our side," said Special Secretary (Social Welfare) Rashmi Singh.
Singh had convened a meeting earlier this month in which several key decisions were taken. Senior officials of the department and representatives of the NGO attended the meeting. Under the project, a connect centre (call centre) will be set up through which the executives will provide desired information to the callers and if needed, forward distress calls to FROs for ground-level action.
At the connect centre, 30 callers can be attended to at the same time and it has been decided that interactive voice recorder will not be used for the helpline. "An orientation session by HelpAge India for officers in the department will be organised. A booklet with important information and contact numbers of government departments and services for the elderly will be published in English and Hindi. A helpdesk will be set up in the office of district offices for the FROs. Each FRO will be assigned two helpdesks," said an official.