Facilities for the elderly in India

The process of ageing, demands considerable amount of heed towards health and proper care. With ageing starts inefficiencies of human body and of various systems which it is comprised of. And so does our Senior Citizens call for that extra heed when it comes to healthcare and other facilities owing to decreasing efficiencies and deterioting capabilities. The National Policy on Older Persons recognizes a person aged 60 years and above as a senior citizen. By 2050 India will be shelter to 300 million elderly people. Our Nation recognizes it’s responsibility towards the elderly amidst their increasing loneliness inspite of their closed ones present -resorting them to shelter of old age homes. The Policies issued by various Ministries is the clear testimony to this where the country is not in arrears, providing various relaxations and amenities to the elderly!!

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry responsible for welfare of the Senior Citizens. It has framed the National Policy on Older Persons covering all concerns pertaining to the welfare of older persons. The Ministry is also implementing the Integrated Programme for Older Persons scheme. Under the Scheme, financial assistance is provided to Government/ Non-Governmental Organizations/Panchayati Raj Institutions/ local bodies etc. for running and maintenance of various projects for the welfare of indigent Senior Citizens under the Scheme of IPOP.

By Ministry of Finance:
-Income tax rebate upto an income of Rs. 3 lakh p.a. (Age 60 years or more but less than 80 years). For senior citizens of age above 80 years, the income tax rebate is upto an income of Rs 5 lakh p.a.
-Exemption from e-filing. In other words, a very senior citizen filing his return of income in Form ITR 1/4 and having total income of more than Rs. 5,00,000 or having a refund claim can file his return of income in paper mode, i.e., for him e filing of ITR 1/4 (as the case may be) is not mandatory. However, he may go for e-filing if he wishes.‚Äč
-Section 80TTB of the Income Tax law gives provisions relating to tax benefits available on account of interest income from deposits with banks or post office or co-operative banks of an amount upto Rs. 50,000 earned by the senior citizen (i.e., an individual of the age of 60 years or above). Interest earned on saving deposits and fixed deposit, both shall be eligible for deduction under this provision.
-Section 194A of the Income Tax law gives corresponding provisions that no tax shall be deducted at source from payment of interest to a senior citizen up to Rs. 50,000.
-Income tax rebate for Medical Treatment for Specified Diseases for Senior Citizens (U/S 80 DDB).
-Income tax rebate for Medical Insurance.
-Premium for Senior Citizens.
-Higher rates of interest on saving schemes of senior citizens.

By Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
-Reservation of two seats for senior citizens in front row of the buses of the State Road Transport Undertakings.
-Some State Governments are giving fare concession to senior citizens in the State Road Transport Undertaking buses and are introducing Bus Models, which are convenient to the elderly.

By Ministry of Health & Family Welfare:
-Separate queues for older persons in hospitals for registration and clinical examination.
-The Senior Citizens Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS) as top up over existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme is being implemented for senior citizens aged 60 years and above. SCHIS provides enhanced coverage of Rs. 30,000 per senior citizen in the family eligible for coverage under RSBY). RSBY is a centrally sponsored health insurance scheme being implemented by this Ministry which covers BPL families (a unit of five) and 11 other defined categories. Enrolled beneficiaries are entitled for health insurance coverage of Rs.30,000/- cashless per annum per family.

By Department of Telecommunications:
-Faults/complaints of senior citizens are given priority by registering them under senior citizens category with VIP flag, which is a priority category.
-Senior citizens are allowed to register telephone connection under N-OYT Special Category, which is a priority category.

By Ministry of Railways:
-Indian Railways provide fare concession in all Mail / Express including Rajdhani / Shatabadi / Jan Shatabadi trains for senior citizens aged Female – 58 years and Male 60 years and above. The element of concession is 40 % for Male and 50 % for female.
-Indian Railways also have the facility of separate counters for Senior Citizens for purchase / booking / cancellation of tickets.
Wheel Chairs for use of older persons are available at all junctions, District Headquarters and other important stations for the convenience of needy persons including the older persons.
-Ramps for wheel chairs movement are available at the entry to important stations.
Specially designed coaches with provisions of space for wheel chairs, hand rail and specially designed toilet for handicapped persons have been introduced.

By Ministry of Civil Aviation:
-Most Airlines are providing 50 per cent Senior Citizen Discount on Normal Economy Class fare for all domestic flights to Indian senior citizens who have completed the age of 60 years, subject to certain conditions.

By Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:
-Under the Antyodaya Scheme, the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families which also include older persons are provided food grains at the rate of 35 kgs. per family per month. The food grains are issued @ Rs.3/- per kg. for rice and Rs.2/- per kg. for wheat. The persons aged 60 years above from the BPL category were given priority for identification.
-Under the Annapoorna Scheme being implemented by the States/UT Administration, 10 kgs. of food grains per beneficiary per month are provided free of cost to those senior citizens who remain uncovered under the old age pension scheme.
-Instructions to State Governments for giving priority to the Ration Card holders who are over 60 years of age in Fair Price Shops for issue of rations.

Everything present here to support them and enhancing their lives with the easiest manner but what lacks here is consciousness, thorough awareness and proper implementation which needs a little working!!

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