NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government has informed the Supreme Court that old-age homes are operational in all 75 districts of the state and facilities like medicine, food and clothes are provided to those residing there.
The apex court had earlier directed all the states and union territories to file their affidavits on a petition which raised the issue of status of old-age homes across the country.
In its counter affidavit filed before a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, the Uttar Pradesh government said that the state was taking effective steps to ensure financial, food security, healthcare, shelter and other needs of senior citizens to improve the quality of their lives.
"All the old-age homes established in 75 districts of the state have become operational. It is pertinent to mention here that for the financial year 2017-18, budget of Rs 60 crore has been provided for operation and arrangements of old-age homes," the state said.
"It is also submitted that food, clothes, medicines and other necessary facilities are being provided free of cost to senior citizens in the old-age homes," the affidavit said.
It said besides the government financed old-age homes in the state, several NGOs were also running such homes.
The affidavit also referred to the old-age pension scheme run by the state with the Centre's help and said that pension of Rs 400 per month was being given to senior citizens, who are below the poverty line, aged between 60 and 79 years.
The monthly pension for senior citizens above 80 years was Rs 500, it said.
"Under the scheme, a proposal related to increasing the old pension from Rs 400 per month to Rs 1,000 per month is also under consideration before the state government and decision will be taken soon in this regard in view of the budget," it said.
It also said the state was fully committed to implement the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 and was providing old-age pension and implementing various welfare programmes for elderly citizens.
During the hearing on January 30, the apex court had expressed displeasure that several states and union territories have not filed affidavits and had observed that it was "quite obvious" that the authorities were not concerned about the aged.
The bench was informed that 23 states and union territories have filed their affidavits, while 11 others have not furnished these yet.
It had granted "last opportunity" to the defaulting states to file their affidavits within three weeks and posted the matter for hearing on March 22.
The apex court had in September last year sought replies from the states and union territories regarding the status of old-age homes in every district on a plea filed by former union minister and senior advocate Ashwini Kumar for protection of rights of senior citizens.
Kumar, in his PIL, had said there was a large number of aged people which has been increasing, with most of them living in poverty, without any roof over their heads or proper clothes and food.
The petitioner has sought that adequate number of old age homes be established in the country and direction be given to maintain and operate such homes with adequate standards to enable the elderly live their life with dignity and in accordance with section 19 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.