Home / News / India /  For senior citizens, government launches pan-India toll free helpline

NEW DELHI: The central government on Tuesday launched the first pan-India toll-free helpline--14567--for senior citizens called the ‘Elder Line’, which will aims to provide free information and guidance on pension and legal issues, extend emotional support, and intervene in cases of abuse.

The intent is to provide senior citizens, or their well-wishers, with one platform across to connect and share their concerns, get information and guidance on problems that they face on a day-to-day basis, without having to struggle for it, the ministry of social justice and empowerment said in a statement.

Tata Trusts and National Stock Exchange (NSE) Foundation, as technical partners, are supporting the ministry in operationalising the Elder Line. Till date, 17 states have opened the Elder Line in their respective geographies, the government said.

Over the last four months, over 2 lakh calls have been received, with more than 30,000 service requests resolved. Of these, nearly 40% calls were related to guidance on vaccines and queries related to it, and nearly 23% of calls were related to pension, it said.

India will have over 300 million senior citizens by 2050. People in this age group face various mental, emotional, financial, legal and physical challenges, with the pandemic having exacerbated matters. 

“Taking cognisance of the growing need to support elderlies in the country, the Government of India has taken a monumental step towards addressing the challenges and problems they face," said the social justice ministry.

A recent study conducted by the Agewell Foundation, an NGO working for welfare and empowerment of the elderly, found that the generation gap has widened due to stretched spells of the pandemic and related lockdowns/restrictions like social distancing. 

The pandemic has brought many challenges for the elderly - social isolation, financial penury, abuse, and neglect.

"The most affected lot because of Covid-19 phenomenon and resultantly ever widening generation gap is the helpless and marginalised older people, who believe in self-denial and silently suffer all indignity, humiliation, isolation. Since there is no respite yet, older persons need constant assurance of support, help and all kinds of assistance in case of need at all levels," said Himanshu Rath, founder chairman, Agewell Foundation.

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