Legal provisions on needs of elderly not adequate : Report

Kathmandu, January 6

Existing acts, regulations and policies have their limitations in terms of senior citizens’ extended needs related to awareness, employment, participation in policy-making and political life to ensure their human dignity, says a report published by the Ministry of Urban Development.

According to the report ‘Inclusive Cities: Resilient Communities’, the overall weak implementation can be exemplified by the delay in implementing many provisions made in the existing policies and plans. Although senior citizen policy and acts have provisions for social welfare, there are limitations when it comes to securing their rights to basic social, physical and psychological  needs. For example, the provision for making complaints against domestic violence has not been fully implemented due to existing family structure.

“The policies and acts need to be more right-based than welfare-based. Likewise, although provisions for senior citizens are made in the proposed Disaster Management Act and National Disaster Response Framework, the materialisation of such provisions are not linked with service delivery. Only a few of major development partners in Nepal have policies and programmes that address the issues of ageing  population to bring the needs of the aged population in the forefront of the development agenda,” it reads.

The report warned that the population of old aged people and the disintegration of traditional family value system might continue to increase. Besides financial security, the old aged population is at the risk of  losing human dignity due to the lack of long-term care and health service provisions,  inclusion, awareness, and engagement in public policy and politics. The senior citizen act and policies are rather welfare-based than right-based, which impedes old aged population from securing rights to dignified living and social freedom.

The new urban agenda will focus at the right-based policy and programs based on comprehensive and disaggregated nationwide data on the status of access to and exclusion from various facilities provided by the government, it says. This includes ensuring the need for the social networking and organised activities, and integrating welfare policies with National Disaster Response Framework to cater to their social, psychological and safety needs. In addition to these, the new urban agenda will integrate issues of old age population in the policies and programs of development partners for larger resource mobilization.

The report says annually 512,000 youth enter labour market in Nepal according to the Economic Survey (2015/16). But the employment opportunity has not been at par with the growing number. In average, nearly 1,300 young people leave the country daily for foreign employment. The government has not been able to productively utilize economically active youth population. This situation will remain as a significant challenge in the foreseeable future, it warned.

Besides, finding out creative ways to involve and increase youth’s participation and ownership in urban development process by meeting their social, physical and psychological needs remains a daunting task, the report suggests.