Mumbai Charity Commissioner office: Free medical aid for the poor a must

Dec 19, 2017, 15:51 IST | Laxman Singh

Charity Commissioner's office urges all officials to ensure hospitals don't turn away the homeless or the poor if they fail to provide eligibility documents for free treatment

Bringing Christmas cheer to hundreds to homeless and poor people in the city, the Charity Commissioner's office has urged all its officials to ensure that no pavement dweller or poor individual is denied free medical treatment in the absence of eligibility documents. The Commissioner's office has issued a circular, a copy of which is with mid-day, to all the charity officers concerned to implement the orders with immediate effect.

Social workers of charitable hospitals should help the poor get timely aid, the circular states. Representation picSocial workers of charitable hospitals should help the poor get timely aid, the circular states. Representation pic

As per rules laid down by the Bombay High Court, people from economically weaker sections of the society need to produce relevant documents, such as ration cards, income certificate or the below poverty line card, to avail of free medical treatment or concessional health facilities in charitable hospitals, across the state. But, it's not uncommon to see hospitals turning away homeless people only because they failed to provide the eligibility documents.

The circular issued on December 15 by state Charity Commissioner, Shivkumar Dige, states, "All officers must ensure that homeless or poor people, or those living in orphanages, who are eligible for free or concessional treatment from charitable hospital as per the high court's directives, are not be deprived of facilities in absence of documents. In the event of some problem, they should approach charity officials for guidance."

Brijesh Arya, a member of the NGO Pehchan, which works for the homeless, said, "It's a great move, but the Charity Commissioner's office should begin by creating awareness of this development among homeless and poor people."

When contacted, Dige said, "We will seek help from NGOs to create awareness among the homeless about this development. We will seek monthly reports from hospitals to ensure that the rule is implemented properly. If any homeless or poor individual is denied treatment, they can contact us."

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