Ederline: Dedicated helpline for senior citizens in Ranchi soon
Ranchi district administration will soon launch a dedicated helpline number for senior citizens to call and seek help from the government in legal matters, during natural disasters and also submit requests for facilities under government-run welfare schemes, officials said on Wednesday.
The toll-free helpline number, named "Elderline", will be run jointly by the district administration, Samarth Life Management Private Limited, an NGO based out of Gurugram, and a Ranchi-based company, Baba Computers, a press communique from the district administration stated.
Senior citizens in need of help will have to dial 14567 and executives of a dedicated call centre will guide them further.
District officials and other stakeholders involved in this initiative have already started undergoing training for the programme. Ranchi deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan recently chaired a meeting via video conferencing with other district officials and reviewed the status of the Elderline initiative in Ranchi.
“The idea is to provide help to elderly people in distress as they face greater challenges during any crisis situation due to age related ailments,” said Ranjan.
An official actively involved in the initiative said that elderly people staying alone were not only more likely to face problems in getting legal aide or help during crisis, but also susceptible to frauds. “There are so many elderly people living in this city who do not have anyone to support them during any crisis. The helpline number will make them feel more confident and give then a sense of self-reliance,” the official said.
Even during the first and the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, elderly people staying alone faced a lot of challenges in getting groceries, edibles and even medicines. While the Jharkhand government did come up with home delivery facility for essentials during the pandemic, there was no dedicated helpline for senior citizens.
In order to address the problems of elders in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Social Justice started call centres in major states under the Elderline project a year ago. The facility is already operational in five States – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
In Jharkhand, such call centres will come up in all the 24 districts and Ranchi will be the first to launch the helpline number, government sources said. This helpline will also offer emotional support to the callers during and after the pandemic. Senior citizens facing pension related problems may also get help by contacting this number.