Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Flood fury in Jammu & Kashmir

HelpAge India moves in as
thousands left without water, food, shelter, or medical supplies.

Urgent help required!

Jammu & Kashmir has been hit by massive floods and over 10 districts are badly affected, damaging homes, uprooting people and leaving them stranded without food, shelter, or any medical help. HelpAge India has already started to bring in emergency relief through its Mobile Medical Units reaching urgently needed medicines and other medical needs. Other essential supplies are also being rushed in.

This relief can only be scaled up with generous contributions from individuals, corporates, or other organisations.

Apart from the health interventions through MMUs, HelpAge India has also put together a locally relevant relief package consisting of solar lights with mobile charging facility, tents, umbrellas, woolen overalls, raincoats, hand-torches, waterproof bags, bed sheets, dry rations, packaged drinking water, blankets, and sleeping bags.  This entire package meant for a family costs Rs 13,500.

How you can help:

As an Individual: please come forward to donate as many such packages as you can and ask your friends and relatives to also join in and donate towards these packages
As an organization/Corporation: you can choose to make a life-saving difference by choosing one or both these options:

a)      Donate towards relief packages in multiples of hundreds or thousands of packages
b)      Donate just Rs 2.5 lakhs towards cost of funding a Mobile Medical Unit’s cost for a month towards providing urgent medical needs to 5,000 affected people.

 All help is urgently required. Donate today!

All donations will be exempted under section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961.

Please make a Cheque/DD in favour of "HelpAge India" and send to us with your complete address and PAN.  On the reverse of the Cheque, please write “J&K Relief”. To pay online please go to

Friday, 13 June 2014

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: 'I went to interview an older woman but she'd been killed for her land.' | Blogs | HelpAge International

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: 'I went to interview an older woman but she'd been killed for her land.' | Blogs | HelpAge International


Beaten in body, mind and spirit
Elder Abuse rate spikes up to 50%, more than double from last year
reveals HelpAge India’s report marking ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’

New Delhi, Friday, June 13, 2014.

Today, just two days before “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15)” HelpAge India releases its report on Elder Abuse in India (2014) revealing an alarming growth of Elder Abuse in our nation.

Shooting to a disturbing 50% of elders experiencing abuse, from last year’s 23%, the report findings indicates an unsettling future for India’s elderly. Women seemed to be more vulnerable with 52% women facing abuse as against 48% men.

The HelpAge research report pans 12 cities across 8 states, with a sample size of 1200 elders covering both Metro (Tier I) and Non-Metro (Tier II) cities. It aims to find out the existence of Elder Abuse, the reasons for its occurrence, its extent and what as per elderly were the most effective measures to deal with the problem.

What was most disconcerting, was that the Abuser was a trusted source from within the elders family, with the Daughter-in-law (61%) and Son (59%) emerging as the topmost perpetrators. A trend that is continuing from the previous years. Not surprisingly, 77% of those surveyed, live with their families. An unsuspecting entry amongst the top 3 Abusers is now the Daughter as well.

Though the national capital, Delhi, ranked the lowest in Elder Abuse with 22% amongst Tier I cities, it also indicated a marginal increase of the same from 20% last year, showing a slow but disturbing growth. Bengaluru ranked the highest at 75% within the Tier I cities surveyed, while in the Tier II cities Kanpur was the lowest (13%) and Nagpur highest at 85%.

Verbal Abuse (41%), Disrespect (33%) and Neglect (29%) were ranked as the most common Types of Abuse experienced by the elderly.

While abuse has gone up, unfortunately still 41% of those abused, did Not report the matter to anyone. “Maintaining confidentiality of the family matter” was cited to be the major reason behind not reporting abuse (59%).

It is a subject often pushed under the carpet. Most elders become silent sufferers and don’t talk about it as it becomes a matter of family honour for them. Since many live with their abusers, making a complaint only worsens matters as per them, due to fear of retaliation. The problem needs to be dealt with at its root. The degeneration of our value system has heightened this problem. Children are turning abusers. There is a dire need to sensitize them, starting young. HelpAge has started a unique HUG campaign which stands for Help Unite Generations, aiming to do just that” – says Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive Officer, HelpAge India.

HelpAge India’s Elder Helpline number is 1800-180-1253 (toll free), addresses cases of abuse and neglect and provides legal advice to victims who wish to take a legal recourse.

The report revealed that though 64% of the victims were aware of the Police helpline, also the most popular redressal mechanism amongst elders, only 12% approached them. Most preferred approaching a relative (53%) or friends (42%).

An interesting observation about the Reasons for Not Reporting abuse is that in Metro cities there is marked ‘lack of confidence in the any person or agency to deal with the problem’ and also there seems to be a general feeling of they “did not know how to deal with the abuse”. However “Fear of retaliation” appears in 3 out of 6 Tier II cities.

Interestingly, the top 3 Reasons for abuse were: Emotional dependence of the victim on the Abuser (46%), Economic dependence of the victim (45%) and Economic dependence of the Abuser (30%) on the victim.

While 17% of those abused, face it daily, 35% face it at least once a week. Elders who faced abuse ‘almost daily’ in Tier I cities, was highest in Hyderabad (42%) and lowest in Mumbai (26%), while those  in Tier II cities was highest in Guwahati (71%).

Dark Stories from the field

“At my son’s place, I am given just two chapattis in a day” - says Mansi Devi (name changed) a 60 year old widow residing in Delhi’s Uttam Nagar. Illiterate and with no income of her own, she is heart broken by the fact that the neglect starts with the denial of her basic daily food. Often, Mansi is tempted to leave everything behind and just run away. However, it is her concern for her handicapped daughter and love for her granddaughters that keeps her back.  

 “My own Nephews beat me so brutally, that I couldn’t move out of bed for 7 days– says Gautam Das (name changed), a well-educated 62 year old Commerce graduate & resident of Selimpur, Kolkata who currently works as an accountant with an NGO.  He has a fixed steady income, lives in a joint family with his wife, son and families of his two brothers. Life seemed idyllic till his newly married niece committed suicide. Das was blamed for having supported his niece’s decision to marry the man of her choice. From that day on, his brother and wife started blaming him as the main cause for their daughter’s death and his nephew with his friends took to beating him up.  Das however suspects that the real reason is that they would like him to leave the ancestral home for the nephew to be able to hand it over to a promoter for developing the property.

“I don’t receive a word of love or affection” – says Dayavati (name changed), a 72 year old widow from the Kachiguda locality of Hyderabad, living with her son and daughter-in-law and their children. She longs for a word of love, a gesture of care; but all she gets in return are rebukes by her daughter-in-law and a son who doubts her.

 “Our financial dependence on our son and daughter-in-law has turned us into their servants” - says a pained Ramanna (name changed) 68 years old from Bengaluru. Once a flower seller with his own income, advancing years forced him to give up his occupation and move in with his son and daughter-in-law. What followed has been years of abuse at their hands.

“My youngest son abuses me – he snatches the money I keep in my bag” – says Malika (name changed) a 61 year old widow, from Guwahati, is abused by her youngest son for money. An unemployed youth and an alcoholic, he is dependent on his mother for his expenses. When denied money, he shouts and abuses her.

About HelpAge India:  HelpAge India is a leading charitable organization working with and for older people in India for the past 36 years. It runs age care programmes throughout the country & advocates strongly for the cause of the elderly and fights for their rights. It also advises & facilitates the Government in formation of policy related to the elderly.  

For Information contact: Sonali Sharma - +91 9810676562 / Vaishnavi Jain - +91 9810683083
Tweet to Us at: @HelpAgeIndia_


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Disaster Management Plan For Prudent Wives (Families)


(Let your husband take care of you and family when alive and even after his unfortunate demise)

It is very unfortunate that world wide, even highly qualified ladies and those in high positions, have little knowledge or interest in financial and property matters. They love to be wholly dependant on their male folks i.e. parents/husband/son etc. Even if someone tries to educate/inform them on these subjects, they shrug them off with the remark - this is a man’s job - why should I worry!

The experience of most Indian women who are confronted with sudden widowhood is sad. The absence of a support system makes the task of the Indian widow an onerous one. This note has been prepared in the hope that every married man will take certain actions, which would considerably mitigate the hardship that his wife (Widow) would have to undergo in the event of his sudden death. Likewise, every married woman should be encouraged to take proactive measures to secure her FUTURE in the contingency of widowhood. In any case, ladies generally live five years longer than their partners.

Preparing for a tragedy is perhaps one of the most important steps in financial planning a wife (in fact anyone) can take.  Thinking ahead to protect yourself and your children in the event of a disaster may be emotionally difficult, but it need not take a great deal of time, and you could someday thank your stars (or husband) for having made the effort.

Step I: Will Power  

You and your spouse should make out separate WILLS and get them registered. In DELHI getting a will registered only costs Rs 600 only. It's a MYTH that people in their late 20s and early 30s are too young to worry about a WILL. Indeed, dependants of this age group suffers most and most of the young victims die intestate, that is, without executing a WILL The absence of a WILL makes the process of recovery for the bereaved family lengthier and more complicated, and may entangle it in court cases.  

It's also a myth that you need to have a substantial amount of money and assets, including immovable property, to make a WILL. If you fail to make your REGISTERED WILL your property will be distributed among your legal heirs in accordance with the personal law applicable to you.  In the case of an intestate (those who fail to make a WILL) Hindu male in India, the legal heirs include his mother, widow and children. Legally speaking, there is no difference between a registered and an unregistered WILL. However, all Offices in India like Municipal Corporation, LIC, Transport Department, Jal Board, Electricity Company, Insurance Company, Bank etc. INISIST ON A REGISTERED WILL. Also, if one goes by experience, there are lesser chances of people going to courts to contest a REGISTERED WILL because it costs lot of money and efforts.

It is essential that a copy of your WILL should be available with your spouse who should be able to easily locate it in the event of your death. It is false that in the case of joint Will of husband-wife, on demise of one of them, property is automatically mutated in the name of surviving spouse. Also, in case there is a joint property/flat, each one MUST write and register their own WILLs at Sub Registrar Office where one lives permanently. 

Step II: Buying Term Insurance for self and husband

Life Insurance is meant to provide the dependants of the policyholder with enough money to replace his income in case he dies. It must take care of the basic expenditure that your family will incur, major expenses like monthly expenses, marriage of children and other liabilities like loans etc. Term Insurance should cover till at least your employment period that is now 65 years. 

Only now, Indians have started going in for TERM INSURANCE. Problem is that though the premium is very low, but like medical and car insurance, there is no pay back at the end of the term of insurance. It lapses. It is the reason very few Indians go for this insurance.

Step III: Collecting Important Records 
Step three in your disaster management plan costs nothing but managing records and time. You and your husband should gather all your important records, a copy of the will and information about where the original will is kept, bank account numbers, safe deposit lockers, insurance policies, Provident Fund and Public Provident Fund details, nominees and the like and keep them in a safe place, but definitely not at your work place.  The following is an illustrative list of important records ladies should have/know when husband is alive.

Immovable property: original PURCHASE DEED of the house or flat; if on Power of Attorney, the original POA; original documents given by DDA/ Housing Agency to the original allottee, allotment letter, payment receipts, particularly of the last payment, possession letter, letter of physical handing over of house/ flat, registered WILL of the original allottee, sale deed, special and general power of attorney, bank Saving Bank and FD numbers, BANK ACCOUNTS IN EITHER OR SURVIOR MODE, Post Office Schemes, NSS, NSCC, cheque books, Bank address, Pension papers, Provident Fund nomination form, PPF pass book with spouse as nominee, Pan Number, Election Card, Passport Numbers with date of issue and renewal date and place from where issued - Note renewal  date Mutual funds , Electricity , Water, Municipal File of property, Medical Insurance  and date of annual renewal , INSURANCE PAPERS, Car documents ,etc. 
Also keep separately copies of property documents duly notarized at other place so that in case original and lost/misplaced, for getting copies of original same from authorities. 

Kindly understand IN details from your husband about above matters. Also, as and when husband goes to such offices for some work, if possible, kindly go with him. It will make your task easier in unfortunate case of your being a widow. In respect of property on rent, the original lease deed and related document should be available. 
[A word of caution – never give your original documents of title of property, Registered Will or their photocopies to anyone.] 

Step IV: Keeping Records updated 
You should update your records and files every month or quarterly so that you are not confronted with unpleasant surprises. If you have opened a bank account, or subscribed to a provident fund, or a life insurance policy before marriage, do remember to change your nominee as your SPOUSE. Ensure that in all your investments, the beneficiary/ nominee is SPOUSE.  

Step V: Identify A Friend In Need 
Write down the name of person(s), who will be helpful to your spouse in her hour of need because children would leave for their destinations after fourth day. 

Step VI: Responsibility of Husband
It is the responsibility of every husband to make his WIFE financially educated meaning thereby that she has as the ability to make informed judgment and take effective action regarding MANAGEMENT OF MONEY across the entire cycle of SAVING, SPENDING, INVESTING, BUDGETING, PROPERTY BUYING, etc. 

The motivation behind disaster management planning is the desire to help the surviving partner cope with the loss and go on with the business of living.

Narendra Ahuja
MA LLB PG DIP Manchester
Will & Mutation Adviser, Advocate

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Eat Differently

No matter what, if you have crossed 60 years – the world denotes that you are old, but I believe this is not true.

I am 75 years old, my body’s few internal parts trouble me but I accordingly take precautions. I am very particular about my health and diet. You must be thinking that I am very well off then. No… I am just like other retired people but I believe in the Hindi saying: “Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai”.

I daily go for long walks (touch wood). I neither suffer from cholesterol nor BP problem or diabetes. But I check on my food intake; it must not be rich in fats, I avoid taking too oily food or high in salt or sugar. At my age, of course at times ups and downs are there. When my wife expired, I experienced high BP but through diet control I managed to reduce it. Even circumstances of life affect the health, but we are not slaves of our circumstances and life must move on.

Excess salt intake destroys are bones and makes them fragile. Also, to keep my bones healthy and body fit, I make sure I use the natural resource of Vitamin D that is sunlight. No food item or supplements can make Vitamin D sufficient in our bodies. Besides Vitamin D, even calcium is needed and hence I drink at least 2-3 glasses of milk a day.

This is my story of how eating differently has kept me healthy and can also keep you healthy at any age!

Mr. A. Kumar
Sarvapriya Vihar