Kerala has been witnessing an exodus of men and women in the productive age group due to its socio-economic factors. There is a mismatch between their higher educational qualifications and the suitable employment opportunities within the state. As a result, many homes in the state have senior citizens living alone in houses with the children and next of kin working and residing outside the state.
In the recent years, there has been an influx of non-local population to the state who are increasingly being employed for a variety of concerns throughout private concerns, public works and even in households. This has also increased the threat perception faced by the senior citizens living alone. Other than security, getting timely medical attention is a prime concern. To counter all of these challenges, the Kerala Police initiated the ‘Bell of Faith’ project.
The Bell of Faith is a rather simple, high on utility, senior citizen-friendly intervention, for which Shri Rahul R Nair was awarded the Dr. Kalam Innovation in Governance Award in 2019.
Mr. Nair is a 2008 batch IPS officer who is currently posted as the District Police Chief, Ernakulam (Rural), Kerala. He is a significant part of the Kerala Police Force that is dedicated to provide the highest quality of police services to the people who live, work and and travel in the state.
How does it work?
Under this project, households with senior citizens who are in need of help and external support, especially those from the economically backward sections, are identified and selected. Thereafter, the Bell of Faith, which is essentially an RFID-based device with a wireless switch, is given to the senior citizens. An alarm unit is installed in the house of a willing, responsible neighbour within a radius of 50 meters to respond timely to the alarms generated. The policemen also have a key role in ensuring that the installed bells are in proper working condition through periodic inspections.
The project aims to empower the neighbourhood to partner with the local law enforcement agency in enhancing security environment of their own community. The project is also understandably low on technology to facilitate smooth operation by the end users, who are technologically and physically constrained. In this way, it advances the principles of participatory governance and neighbourhood security.
The essence of good governance is adoption of citizen-friendly practices and models in order to enhance the people’s well-being. The Bell of Faith project embodies this idea to serve the elderly population of Kerala!