A toll-free helpline- Elder line will soon be launched in Delhi for senior citizens facing abuse to assist them in case of any immediate need.
The social welfare department of the Delhi government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HelpAge India, a leading non-profit organisation working for disadvantaged elderly people, to run the helpline.
It will provide information, guidance, emotional support and field intervention for elderly persons in distress. The project is a part of the Centre's pan-India initiative, and all preparations for the launch have been completed.
According to government officials, the implementing agency (HelpAge India) in this initiative has already appointed one project manager, four-team leaders, eight call officers and five field response officers (FROs) to ensure the proper functioning of the helpline.
The department is also likely to set up a help desk in all district offices for the redressal of grievances lodged by senior citizens through the helpline.
"A toll-free number 14567 has been procured, which will be common across all states. HelpAge India has recruited its team and has started training its team members. A dossier on schemes of various departments is also being compiled to offer assistance to people. This dossier will include details of the provisions for senior citizens in various schemes. We have done preparations from our side," Special Secretary (Social Welfare) Rashmi Singh told The New Indian Express.
Earlier this month, Singh had conducted a meeting in which several key decisions related to this project were taken. The senior officials of the department and representatives of the NGO attended the meeting.
For the smooth functioning of the project, a connect centre (call centre) will be set up. Through the connect centres, the executives will provide desired information to the callers and, if needed, forward distress calls to FROs for ground-level action.
At the connect centre, 30 callers can be attended to at the same time, and it has been decided that an interactive voice recorder will not be used for the helpline.
An official informed that an orientation session by HelpAge India for officers in the department will be organised. The official also said that a booklet with important information and contact numbers of government departments and services for the elderly will be published in English and Hindi.