India need regulatory guidelines for Retirement Homes, finds Study conducted by Moneylife Foundation for HDFC
The first ever study on retirement homes in India, done by Moneylife Foundation, reveals a huge potential for this growing sector. At the same time, there is a need for appropriate oversight, standards of infrastructure and service and grievance redress measures. 
 
The Retirement Homes report was released on Friday by BN Makhija, retired IAS officer and Chairman of GuideStar India, in the presence of senior citizens and activists. The study was conducted with the support of Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd (HDFC) as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. The release was timed to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, observed on 15th June. 
 
 
Says Mr Makhija, "The demand for retirement homes is there, it is growing and so this report is appropriate and timely. There are three reasons why people go to retirement homes: the company of people of similar age, care and safety offered by these places. People are willing and the resources are available, but now people want options. This is the right time to take up the issue of regulation in this segment and I will be happy to be associated with this project.”
 
India is a young country, but a growing population of older persons (8.94% of the Indian population today) has created a niche market for retirement homes that cater to the needs of fairly affluent Indians who no longer want to be burdened with running a home and want to live with people who have similar background and interests.
 
 
Sharing the findings from the report, Sucheta Dalal, Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation, said, “The Study has thrown up a range of issues that seniors can expect to face over time -- starting with minor irritants such as service quality and maintenance to more serious issues such as forceful eviction, denial of services, substandard services and dealing with cost escalation. The need for regulation is underlined by a court case in the Tamil Nadu High Court that highlighted the travails of the senior citizens living in retirement home in Coimbatore.”
 
Moneylife Foundation also conducted an online survey of those living in retirement homes to get first-hand information from residents and gauge their level of awareness about the facilities and future. The survey threw up some startling findings.
 
 
According to the survey, out of the 340 respondents nearly 65% had not signed a contractual agreement which clearly outlines terms of service and their rights. Shockingly, over 62% were unaware about the cost and procedures involved in terminating their deal with the retirement home and its costs. 
 
Highlighting lack of regulation of retirement homes or retirement communities in India, Debashis Basu, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation, said, “There are two models that have developed -- an ownership model and a rental model. Both have good and bad examples. The question is what kind of regulation, supervision and structure will ensure a safe and viable retirement for senior citizens?”
 
 
Although realty is a state subject, the process of granting clearances to set up retirement homes and townships needs to have a national regulatory framework, preferably through an act, overseen by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 
 
“The Ministry should ensure that every retirement home and its management agency is required to file details of its agreements, amenities, terms and conditions of service according to the model and structure under which they are set up and operate. The Ministry should also ensure that details of licenses, sanctions, permissions and terms and conditions of Retirement Homes are uploaded
on the Ministry website (as in the Real Estate Regulation Act),” the Report says in its recommendations.
 
 
Talking about the Report, Sailesh Misra from the Silver Innings Foundation, said the release of the report is just the beginning. “We need to change our mindsets. Seniors opting for retirement homes do not want pity but good services. This is because retirement homes are for the affluent class who can afford them. However, when we talk about elder care, there is a need for all of us to become service providers with holistic angles. Regulatory guidelines or frameworks are the right step in this direction,” he added. 
 
Retirement homes are popular in most developed countries such as the US, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. While there may be a few differences in the structure and facilities offered by these homes, what they have in common is the fact that the governments of these countries extend support, incentives and facilities for retirement homes. Each of these countries has also put in place appropriate regulatory guidelines covering the structure, management and operations of such facilities.
 
 
According to the findings from the study, unless the government puts in place proper regulation, licensing, supervision and grievance redress mechanism with a clear administrative ministry,  examples like that of Coimbatore are bound to have an impact on the growth of the retirement homes segment, which otherwise have great potential in India.
 
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COMMENTS

Sailesh Mishra

2 years ago

Mumbai: Decomposed body of 63-year-old woman found in Lokhandwala: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/decomposed-body-woman-lokhandwala/1/1020325.html

Sandip Kishore

2 years ago

Rightly said it is SAD our Law enforcement authorities DO not play their role rigidly; even after Court injunction is obtained, when results are not forthcoming within a stipulated time, the accused MUST be punished / fined severely; NOT done now - police take back
seat saying party is pursuing court case etc, without verifying DATA completely; PITY;
Violation / Delay on part of authorities OR by accused should be dealt with strong and speedily ; only way to ensure redressal of grievances by elders whose term is "limited" !
Action being taken IS often told, BUT in practices NOT found moving a bit - Strange eh !

R. NARAYAN

2 years ago

Mr Suchindranath Iyer's practical comment appears valid. The Tamil Nadu Govt Order No. 83 issued by the Social Welfare & NMP Dept came into force on 23rd Nov 2016. It is over 200 days since the Govt Order came into force but the Promoters of senior citizen Homes are refusing to comply with the Order as they fear that their ability to further 'exploit' the senior citizens shall come to an end if they show Compliance to the G.O. The Secretary of the Regulatory Authority is the District Social Welfare Officer [DSWO] and she is also the Nodal Officer empowered to redress the grievances of Senior Citizens living in such homes. Despite our written complaints, the DSWO has NOT been able to redress a single grievance, so far. She expresses her lack of pwer and inability to bring the Promoters to comply with the Govt. Order. Same is inaction can be seen with the Police, Revenue and other authorities in the District upon whom a duty is cast to protect the security and property of Senior Citizens living in such Homes vide the G.O. Thus the issue of making the Promoters of such Senior Citizen Homes to become Compliant to the Govt Order. is the next level of our continuing struggle. The matter has been escalated to the Hon. District Collector who is the Chairman of the Regulatory Authority, the Director Social Welfare Tamil Nadu Govt., the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare & NMP Dept TN Govt, the PMO cell and we continue to knock at the doors of the every authority hoping that someone would wake up to ur plea and perform their duty towards senior citizens of the state. Hopefully the errant Promoters will be tamed by the senistization of the state level, quasi judicial law-enforcing authorities to the salient clauses in the G.O. resulting in the 'Rule of Law' being eventually implemented, in letter & spirit.

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

The assumption that regulation works in a corrupt India sans dependable Police and Judiciary is a facile one.

RERA a big move forward, but consumers need to be watchful, says consumer activist Varsha Raut
The Real Estate Regulation & Development Act 2016 (RERA) has, for the first time, empowered consumers and made a beginning in terms of effectively protecting the biggest investment that most Indians make. This is definitely a huge step in the area of real estate but it is still a “work in progress”. 
 
Speaking about the Act at Moneylife Foundation on Saturday, Ms. Varsha Raut, of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat said, “RERA is a gift to the consumer. Now the ball is in our court and we can make the most out of it by keeping a watchful eye. I think people should not be hasty in purchasing flats right now. Wait for two months (which is the time given for registration under RERA), and if you see any malpractice or anything suspicious then one must not hesitate in approaching the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat or just complaining to MahaRERA.”
 
 
There is a huge interest in understanding RERA and Ms Raut addressed a packed hall. Ms Raut, who has been an activist for 30 years, focused on consumer protection issues in the act such as timely completion, delivery, payments, possession and promise vs delivery. She said, “There is a difference between a consumer and a customer. A customer does not necessarily have specific knowledge about her rights, but a consumer is supposed to be aware and should fight for his/her rights. RERA is a proof that the consumer has finally been acknowledged”
 
 
Highlighting the features of RERA she said, “The registration requirement under RERA is definitely one of the most important features of the act. An on-going project needs to register within 3 months of the commencement of the act and a new project cannot even advertise, market or sell apartments until it has registered and submitted all documents and permissions that are required to develop the property”. 
 
 
False or misleading advertisement as well as promising misleading services can lead to revocation of registration. She further explained to the audience of the consequences of revocation on registration. 
 
Briefing the audience about the application process, she said, “personal information of the promoter, the details of all his projects in the past 5 years including the status of these projects, the proforma of the allotment, the sanctioned plan, layout plan and even the specifications of the proposed projects are a few things that are expected from the promoters”. 
 
She further said that the “promoter is responsible to the consumer for all legal obligations and services till the conveyance is granted and handed over to a registered society of flat owners. Until then, the promoter is accountable to the consumer for all incorrect or false statements made to the consumer and may have to return the entire investment with interest (at such rate as may be prescribed) with the compensation. 
 
In case of structural defects, she informed that it was necessary to bring to the notice of the promoter within a period of five years from the date of handling over the possession. 
 
 
As regards the rights and duties of every allotee, she said that it was the right of every allotee to obtain information about the project i.e., construction schedule, date of completion as well as knowledge about the amenities agreed to be provided. It was the duty of every allotee to make timely payments in the manner specified in the agreement and to participate in the formation of a society and to register for the conveyance deed. 
 
Interestingly, the first regulatory action under MahaRERA was initiated on the basis of Ms Raut’s complaint about a misleading advertisement by real estate brokerage firm Sai Estate Consultant under 'unfair trade practice.' The firm was called for a hearing and a penalty of Rs 1.2 lakhs was imposed on the firm. It has also been asked to rectify hoardings with a sticker that says it is being done under directions from MahaRERA .
 
“RERA is an act with a long term vision and I know it will be close to our hearts as real estate is a special and important topic for all of us. The fight is not over though and so we must stay vigilant and take action against what is wrong”, an important message from Ms Raut.
 
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BR

2 years ago

TGS Properties,TGS Ltd, TGSConstructions, real estate cos in Bangalore advertised in many property portals like Magicbricks, Indiaproperty.com, Housing.com,Makaan.com,Quikr.com,etc., falsely showing photos of plots at low prices as if they were in the heart of Bangalore and fooling prospective buyers. They would tell them to visit their offices to go for site visit. On going there they were told of other real sites far away & coaxed to buy them.How to charge them with misconduct under the act ?Many people wanted many months & years begging the cos to show the plots in false ads. Who is the authority under the act in Bangalore ?

Dr. Prerana Rane

2 years ago

Thanks for organizing this lecture. The lecture was very educative for person like me who is just facing the redevelopment issues. Kudos to Ms. Varsha Raut and others in MGP who have been relentlessly putting in their selfless efforts in the interest of consumers. I think we should organize her educative lectures in south and central Mumbai where many people are affected, and have lost their homes- and helplessly waiting for the new houses. I am willing to volunteer for such effort.

MOHAN SIROYA

2 years ago

Fine, Well enunciation by Ms. Varsha Raut.
But as she said correctly, on paper RERA appears to be a boon for consumers who have been suffering in the hands of crooked buiders/Developers. The taste of pudding is in its eating. After six months experiences bad or good shall start rolling. Ms. Raut's statement ,if correct is most welcome that every consumer who did not get his right under RERA or was short circuited must complaint to the designated RERA Authority or
to the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. It will be a gr8 thing to happen if MGP takes an Advocacy for the suffering consumer. To dole out advice or guidance there are diem and dozen activists ,VCOs or NGOs. But to find even a few activists /ORGs who are interested in getting justice thru' Advocacy will indeed herald a change in the arena of Consumer Protection. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Just to keep on record that in 1983 when the late Mr. Madhu Mantri was the Chairman Of MGP and yours truly was one of the members on much active Complaints Committee the Consumers Guidance Society of India, we both were Consumer activist experts on a live discussion on "Consumers Today" on Mumbai Doordarshan . Frankly the State of Consumers has not changed or evolved notably since then, although a plethora of new legislations, supposed to be Consumer Friendly have been enacted. There is a say in Hindi "Tum Daal Daal Toh Hum Paat Paat" applies to Consumer enemies Visa-vis Consumer Protection Laws.

Students learn the ropes on online safety and security
Calling technology a great leveller, Yogesh Sapkale, Director for Projects at Moneylife Foundation and Deputy Editor of Moneylife, shared some tips and tricks with students to stay safe online. He was speaking at a summer special seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai.
 
Dividing digital transactions into five segments -- mobile banking, net banking, cards and e-wallets, online shopping and digital security-- Mr Sapkale explained safety and security practices to keep money and privacy safe. Most importantly, he advised youngsters never to use free Wi-Fi, especially for financial transactions, as on public networks, as there is always the danger that someone might steal the data. 
 
One interesting observation he shared was on how people often get fooled because they are unaware of the difference between a ‘URL’ and a ‘domain name’. For instance,  http://en.wikipedia.org/ was a URL whereas ‘Wikipedia.org’ was the domain name. “There is a message spreading on WhatsApp that offers Redmi Note 4 mobile for just Rs499 with a link http://amazon.note4-499rs-sale.in. However, in this link, the domain is ‘note4-499rs-sale.in’ and not ‘amazon.com’ or ‘amazon.in’, which people most often fail to notice and fall prey to spams or spurious sales. This domain is nowhere related with Amazon. By the way, note4-499rs-sale.in is registered by one Rahul Kumar from Delhi,” he added. 
 
 
He urged students to follow three simple steps before opening any mail received from an unknown sender- ‘Stop, Think and Click (maybe)’. However these steps change while dealing with ‘Scareware’ (pop-ups that either state that your system is performing slowly or your computer is attacked by a virus) - Stop, Think, and Do not Click. 
 
For the security of one’s personal computer Mr Sapkale advised everyone to install anti-virus and anti-malware software. “Keep updating all software and preferably keep them on auto download mode as this will ensure the security of your device. Avoid clicking on any link or 'submit' button on screen, unless you have initiated the session, especially for financial transactions,” he added.
 
“In case of online shopping, shop only on reputed websites and make sure you do not fall prey to deals that are too good to be true. Moreover, opt for cash on delivery (COD) and open the package in the presence of the delivery person to check if it is same as you ordered. Preserve all communications with the website which will come handy in case there is some issue with the product or service,” he advised. 
 
Talking about protecting personal identification number (PIN) for ATM-debit or credit card, Mr Sapkale told the group never to share it with anyone, including the bank itself. He says, “Change the PIN regularly and enable bank SMS alert on your mobile phone. Also, be aware of your surroundings and cover your keypad while entering the PIN in an ATM. Do not let your card out of your sight.  In case of any mishaps report the same to the bank as well as the bank manager. If no action is taken then escalate the case to the nodal officer of the bank and then to the Banking Ombudsmen. Cyber Act Court under the IT Act and the State IT secretary is in charge and he will hear your case if it is regarding financial frauds”, he added. 
 
Mr Sapkale also explained the difference between plastic cards, one with a magnetic stripe and other with Euro, MasterCard Visa (EMV) chip cards. He told the youngster to opt for chip-based plastic cards as it stores your personal data in a more secure and hard to copy manner, compared with magnetic stripe, where data can be easily copied using a skimmer device. 
 
 
Mr Sapkale then explained the most important part in one’s digital life -- the password. “Never share your passwords with anyone. Create passwords using memorable phrases; mix it with numbers, special characters. Never use a word from a dictionary, either as base or password. Feel free to mix languages. For financial transactions, I would suggest a password with a length of at least 13 characters. For debit or credit card PIN’s, use the keypad of old mobiles to create a new combination," he advised. 
 
Using some popular words from Mahabharata and Indian films, he demonstrated online, how unusual words can be used to create strong password when mixed with special characters and numbers. He also showed the eager audience thee estimated time taken to crack passwords of different length. 
 
“Some people say technology is evil, but I do not agree. If I manage it well and make good use of it, it will only make my life better. Digital technology is a huge boon;  however the road to using it is full of pitfalls. All you need to learn is to navigate to avoid mishaps,” Mr Sapkale concluded.
 
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