Elder Line, a national helpline for senior citizens, was inaugurated by Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla in a program at the Directorate of Social Welfare, Shillong on Monday.

By dialling a toll-free number – 14567, senior citizens across the state can now access information on healthcare, elder-friendly products, and old age shelter homes. The helpline will also guide senior citizens regarding pension-related issues, Maintenance Act and other legal issues.

The helpline has been initiated and funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, Senior Citizens Division.

Addressing the gathering, Kyrmen Shylla said the tripartite MoU was signed between the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, the Government of Meghalaya, Social Welfare Department and PACE computers in January 2021.

Given the transformation of the societal structure which has resulted in the breaking away of the joint family structure to the nuclear family structure, a large population of the elderly population has been left with no or little support, care and treatment they deserve, he added.

To come to the aid of the senior citizens, the Meghalaya government has come up with numerous welfare schemes/programmes implemented through the social welfare department, health department, community and rural development department, food and civil supplies department etc.

Shylla also informed that the state government is planning to establish old-age homes in every state district in the next five years, and the Department will provide adequate budget provision in the next financial year for construction of a permanent old-age home at Mawkasiang to cater to the need for shelter, food, a medical requirement of the elderly having no family support.

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