Nepal | July 18, 2019

Majority of elders at old-age homes deprived of govt allowance

Shuvam Dhungana
Old age homes

Elderly women sitting at the premises of the old-age home in Pashupatinath, Kathmandu on Monday, April 15, 2019. Photo: Shubham Dhungana/THT

KATHMANDU: Chandra Danta Acharya (74) of Rasuwa has been residing in an old-age home at Pashupatinath premises for the last four years. Despite his eligibility to receive monthly allowance provided by the government to senior citizens, he has not received any such allowance yet.

“Although I have my citizenship certificate with me, I have not received any allowance because along with it, I need to submit the migration certificate which I do not have,” said Acharya.

He said that at his age, going back to his village to initiate the process of getting a migration certificate was very tedious and impractical as he has been suffering from various health-related issues.

Acharya further added that it would be a great relief if the government provides the allowance by creating exceptions for elderly people like him who do not have proper documentation despite eligibility.

Likewise, Sita Karki (70) of Sarlahi, currently residing in the same old-age home at Pashupatinath said, “I have not received the allowance because l do not have a citizenship certificate. Although the administration has told me that they have sent a letter to the authorities for verification of my age, requesting to grant allowance, there has been no development in this regard till date.”

“Also, I don’t have anyone who could arrange all the documents for me; so I have actually given up all hopes of receiving the allowance,” she added.

Altogether, 155 elderly citizens from various districts are currently residing in the old-age home at Pashupatinath.

Office Chief of the Social Welfare Centre at Pashupatinath, Manoj Kumar Basnet claimed that majority of the elders taking shelter at the centre have received monthly allowance provided by the government.

However, when THT Online interviewed the elders, majority of the senior citizens at the centre were deprived of the monthly allowance.

“We are trying best from our side to ensure that those who do not have proper documents receive the benefits offered by the state through means of coordination with the District Administration Office and other local bodies,” said Basnet.

As many as 17 senior citizens currently reside at Nishya Sewa Sadan in Subidha Nagar, Kathmandu. On probing, it was found that only five of the said 17 elderly are benefitting from the monthly allowance.

The Hope Hermitage in Lazimpat accommodates 36 elderly citizens. Of them, only 12 receive the elderly allowance.

Likewise, 24 elderly women are currently residing at Matatirtha Old-Age Home Committee at Matatirtha of Chandragiri Municipality and among them, only two elders enjoy the state-benefits.

As per the government’s policy, Nepali citizens who have completed 65 years of age are entitled to an allowance of Rs 2,000 per month.

Some municipalities also provide additional allowances to the elderly. Kathmandu Metropolitan City, for instance, provides an additional Rs 1,000 to men aged over 80 and women above 75.

Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Ishwar Man Dangol said, “Those who do not have proper documents are not eligible to receive the allowance. However, if the old-age homes can provide documents verifying their age, we might then provide them the allowance by means of some amended policy and laws.”

According to Budha Manandhar, section officer at the accounts division at KMC, the government distributed around Rs 600 million as elderly allowance in the Kathmandu Metropolitan City last year, where there were around 24,000 eligible recipients.

“The allowance is distributed every four months,” said Manandhar.

The government recently made an announcement of increasing the old-age allowance from the coming fiscal year.

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