Care For Senior Citizens — An Open Appeal To Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji
Care For Senior Citizens — An Open Appeal To Honourable Prime Minister
*Tejinder Singh Bedi
From this year, driving 10 year old diesel and 15 year old petrol cars are debarred in NCR. Strangely, the decision is based on the time-lapsed since first registration of the vehicle and not on the fitness plus mileage of these cars and affects those Sr Citizens the most who have no pensions, no social security covers, have to face innumerable old age challenges and are surviving on their life-time savings which too have been witnessing depleting interest rates besides an unabating inflation triggered world wide by the long drawn pandemic for the last two years already.
It is a known fact that in the advancing years of life, senior citizens can not avoid visiting their doctors, nearby hospitals — when needed besides grocery outlets close by for daily errants and in many cases the places of worship, yoga or meditation close by. With the NCR cities constantly grappling with an increasing density of population, the dependence of the senior citizens on their personal vehicles in scorching heat of the summers & the accompanying heat waves, during periods of heavy rains in the rainy seasons and extreme chill of the winter months increases manifold further.
Though few may be supported by their kids, not all senior citizens have the luxury of their grown up kids staying with them or supporting them all 24 hours. Public transport options are neither very senior citizen friendly nor are as reliable and affordable as a personally maintained car can be. As such if the senior citizens have to scrap their cars in their advancing age they will surely have to look for a new one though we all know that the new cars of today are all exorbitantly priced and largely out of reach of any person not earning or having any regular source of income. during the last phase of life, with all priorities focussed on health care and related expenses.
The country has a population of nearly 14 Cr Sr Citizens; roughly 10% of its total. NCR which has about 2 Cr may thus be hosting no more than 20 lakh Seniors. Around 33 lakh cars are estimated to be registered in Delhi with another 11 lakhs in the NCR. Presuming only half of the seniors may be owning cars, this count may be just around 2.2 lakhs with the number of their 10 to 15 year old cars even far lesser, maybe just within 75000. Exemption for senior citizens thus is also going to affect only a very small number.
Honourable PM Sir, I had also initiated a petition to this effect on change.com which has already received support of 24247 signatories with another 7396 plus having re-shared it from 50,981 views so far though even without such a massive campaign, basic rationality itself could have guided this imbroglio to a resolution easily.
For the need to check abuse of this change, if approved — my petition also suggests to take the registration data of ownership of Senior Citizens until March 31, 2022 as a cut off mark so that any transfers affected post this date in the name of any youngsters in family or friends can be easily monitored for revoking this dispensation.
This petition can go on getting further support but somehow I have a feeling that you would kindly like to look at the suggestions offered by me dispassionately and direct the Delhi Government to exempt all Senior Citizens in the NCR from this rule for another 5 years at least aligned with the rest of the country. It is also pertinent to have a re-look at the lifecycle of 15 years against lifetime road tax for existing/old cars when both the FIAT and the Ambassador besides others were using a very old technology for their models for many decades as after the entry of Suzuki and other Japanese, European and US automotive companies in India post 1982 — our entire auto industry has undergone a revolutionary upgradation with much higher life of their engines, entire powertrain and all other components, accessories since then being manufactured for long adopting the latest technological interventions and best practices from some world class manufacturers with which logic the period of life time road tax for these new age cars should actually automatically have been revised to 25 years at least, may be with a mileage cap of 1.5 lakh kilometers or even higher long long ago!
My Video Appeal on my above petition — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWmrsQZ8pb0
Petition Status at the time of closing this write-up:
(* Author is a former technocrat, people management cum CSR adviser, founder plant personnel head of Maruti Suzuki India, a freelance journalist and a passionate singer)