After Bihar, Odisha mulls stricter punishment for abandoning elderly parents

Bhubaneswar: Taking a cue from the Bihar government’s decision to punish wards for abandoning parents, Odisha government has directed all the district collectors for stricter enforcement of the existing rules for the safety and welfare of senior citizens.

The State government has directed to ensure effective implementation of the provisions under The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

“I have three daughters and one son but none of them care for me which is why I am forced to stay at this place,” said Jayanti Behera, an inmate of an old-age home in Keonjhar.

According to a nationwide report released by HelpAge India recently, around 60 to 70 per cent of elderly residents in the country are victims of abuse.

“Many elderly parents feel that they are being abused while majority of them are actually ignored, abused and abandoned by their children who fail to maintain a balance between professional and personal life,” said Odisha head of HelpAge India, Bharati Chakra.

Speaking on the issue, Odisha Minister for Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disability, Ashok Panda said, “We have directed all the district collectors to take required action against the culprits. There is a need to spread social awareness on the issue.”

Recently, Bihar Cabinet-led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had approved a proposal to punish those who abandon their elderly parents with a jail term.