Elderly in India – Challenges, Schemes & Legal Provisions | UPSC Notes

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Elderly in India – Challenges, Schemes & Legal Provisions

Sex Ratio — 1033 | Feminisation of Old Age

Recent Government Initiatives

PM Vyay Vandana Yojana

Atal Pension Yojana

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)

Tax relaxation and better rate of interests offered!

2018-19 Budget — many relaxations in taxation and returns.

“Intergenerational Homes” on German model.

Population — 103 Million (2011 Census) | expected to grow to 175 Million by 2026

  • Government commit to double the pension coverage from present 3.09 crore to over 6 crore.

MP Government —

  1. Single Click Pension Distribution Scheme — money directly into the beneficiary’s account.
  2. Old age homes — data on the senior citizens living alone in urban areas, towns and big villages will be collected to ensure proper services and security.
  3. Helpline to be launched
  4. Senior Citizens’ Panchayat — at CM’s Residence

Assam Government

  • Pay cut for the officers and workers who neglect the well being of their ailing parent and handicapped siblings.

==> Connect Old Age Homes with Orphanages (mutual benefit)<==

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill — 2018

  1. MoSJ&E
  2. Enhance the jail term for those found abandoning or abusing their parents — 60yrs +
  3. Expands the definition of children — to include daughter-in-law and son-in-law and also adopted/step-children.
  4. It extends the definition of maintenance beyond provision of food, clothing, housing, health care to include “safety and security” of the parent.
  5. Senior citizens can also approach a Maintenance Tribunal in case their children neglect or refuse to maintain them. In case of childless person, the tribunal can direct a relative to provide monthly maintenance to the senior citizen.
  6. Introduces a punitive measure of up to one month imprisonment in case the monthly allowance remains unpaid.
  7. Mandates a uniform age of 60 years for all.
  8. Require the government to establish and run at least one Senior Citizen Care Home in every district in the country.
  9. If parents transfer property to their children on the condition that they take care of them, and this clause is breached, the transfer of property will be deemed to be “made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence” and a tribunal can order it to be transferred back to the parent.
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Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act — 2007

  1. In 2007, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed to provide maintenance support to elderly parents and senior citizens.
  2. The Act establishes the Maintenance Tribunal to provide speedy and effective relief to elderly persons. Section 19 of the act also mandates the establishment of an old age home in every district and provides for the protection of life and property of the elderly.

What is Maintenance?

  • Maintenance is defined in the Act as including “provision for food, clothing, residence and medical attendance and treatment”

Who Can Claim Maintenance?

  • Parents
    • Parents means biological, adoptive and step parents. The age of parents is irrelevant to claim maintenance.
  • Grandparents
    • Grandparents includes both maternal and paternal grandparents.
  • Senior Citizen
    • A senior citizen is an Indian citizen who is 60 years of age or older.
  • The only condition for claiming maintenance under this Act is that the persons must be unable to maintain themselves from their own earnings and property.

Who is Legally Obligated to Pay Maintenance?

Adult Children and adult grandchildren, both male and female, are responsible for paying maintenance to parents and grandparents. An application can be filed against any one or more of them.

Senior citizens who do not have children or grandchildren can claim maintenance from a relative who is either possessing their property or who will inherit their property of the senior citizen after their death. The relative must not be a minor and must have sufficient means to provide maintenance. If more than one relative is entitled to inherit the property, then maintenance must be paid by relatives in proportion to their inheritance of the property.

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The failure to pay maintenance without sufficient reason will result in a warrant for collecting the due amount. If the person does not pay maintenance even after the warrant is executed, the person is liable to imprisonment for a maximum of 1 month or until the amount is paid, whichever is earlier.

Any person who is responsible for the protection and care of a senior citizen and intentionally abandons the senior citizen completely is liable to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 or be imprisoned for 3 months or both.

Responsibility of the State Government:

The State Government must ensure that all government hospitals and hospitals partly or fully funded by the government arrange separate queues for senior citizens and provide beds for all senior citizens.

Additionally, every district hospital must have special facilities for senior citizens. Every district must have at least one old age home for senior citizens who are poor and needy. These old age homes must be able to accommodate at least 150 poor and needy senior citizens.

NGOs and their Rating Mechanism

Many a times, there are various NGOs that come forward to help the senior citizens and the ‘abandoned’ parents by their children. NGOs provide the basic amenities for the elderly persons, provide an attendant at home to assist day to day work — many a time free of cost also. NGOs also open up Old Age Homes for the elderly persons where not only they are provided with basic facilities but also get a social life among the likes.

However sometimes (though less) it is seen that some fraudulent NGOs take advantage of the old age of the persons and exploit them — even in rare cases commits crime including murders also. Also sometimes in the name of NGO for serving old people, several ‘other’ business activities happen.

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In order to keep a check over such fraudulent NGOs — a Rating mechanism can be envisaged where NGOs will be rated as per the services offered by them to the needy old people. Based on the rating they can be funded from various sources. Moreover a better rating will be helpful in expanding the area coverage and serving more and more people.