initiative to help - add life to years
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National Policy for Older Persons
Concessions and facilities given to senior citizens

The Government of India had declared the National Policy on Older Persons as early as 1999 covering all aspects required to be taken into account for real welfare of Older Persons. It was really a very comprehensive document leaving not a single matter.

It covered all the following major aspects in detail in favour of Older Persons:-
Financial Security.
Health Care & Nutrition.
Protection of Life & Property.

The Policy declared the Older Persons as respected Citizens requiring strengthening of their legitimate place in the Society and to take all actions to help them to live their last phase of life with Purpose, Dignity and Peace. It recognized the Older Persons as a Resource of the Country. It sought the cooperation of all government & non-governmental Organizations including the most powerful Media-our Fourth Estate. Health Care was given higher priority. Public Hospitals were asked to provide separate doctors/counters for Senior Citizens to avoid long waits. Group Housing for Senior Citizens, keeping in view their life styles & common facilities necessary, loans at reasonable rates etc were provided. Provision of welfare services including Old Age Homes on priority basis were laid down. Protection of life & property was also given priority. It encouraged the children to co-reside with parents by giving various incentives to such children. It recognized the NGOs as a very special & important Institutional Mechanism to provide User-friendly affordable Services to Senior Citizens. Trade Unions, Employers Organizations & Professional bodies were also requested to provide Services to Senior Citizens. Media was expected to highlight the changing situation of Senior Citizens and identify emerging issues and areas of action.

In view of changing needs of Senior Citizens over the past decade, Government decided to review this Policy and got it reviewed by a Review Committee, which has submitted Revised National Policy for Senior Citizens,2011 (NPSC, 2011) to Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment on 31-3-11.

The following concessions/facilities are available to Senior Citizens at present :-
Poor Senior Citizens living below Poverty Line are given the following help :

Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAPS) : This Pension is now granted to all Senior Citizens of 60 (orders for 60 under issue by Ministry of Rural Development) & above belonging to a house hold below the poverty line and not limited to destitutes only, as earlier. The contribution of Central Government is Rs 200 per beneficiary p.m. and minimum Rs 200 from the State. Some States are giving more; some less & some nil. Pension is to be credited, where feasible, to a Post Office or Public Sector Bank account of the beneficiary for 3 months with permission to withdraw every month only one month's pension. Government of Maharashtra has started this scheme with effect from 1-11-07, as notified in their GR dt 5-3-08. The amount of this Pension is notified as Rs 500 p.m. (State Contribution Rs 300) vide their GR dt 30-9-08. The claimant has to be in the list of families under BPL, has to produce proof of age and certificate of residing in Maharashtra for 15 years. If the beneficiary does not withdraw his monthly pension continuously for 3 months, the amount shall be transferred back to the State. Those, who are handicapped and unable to walk, their pension shall be paid by Money Order at State Expense. In all cases, Post Office/Bank Accounts have to be opened. Life Certificate is necessary every year and should be produced between January & March, failing which pension shall be stoppe from 1st April. Entitlement of beneficiary shall also be checked up every year. The beneficiary has to apply in the prescribed form in duplicate to the talati/tahsildar of his area and obtain an acknowledgement from him. All enclosures should also be duplicate. Government of Maharashtra vide their Orders no. VISHYO 2008/pra.ka.78/VISHYO-1 dt 29-6-09 have decided to give Rs 500 p.m. to all senior citizens of 65(now 60 under revision) and above, whose total annual family income is within Rs 21000, if their names are not in the list of BPL Family. This will be paid by Government under their scheme of Shravanbal Seva Rajya Nivruti Yojna and has been put in their Web Site at Sr No.20090629152254001. This was necessitated as it has been made compulsory from 23-9-07 to have name included in list of BPL Family for payment of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (which is very difficult due to revised formula!!).

Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan Yojna: Under Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan Yojna of Maharashtra, niradhar (destitutes) Senior Citizens under 65 and having income below Rs 21000 p.a. are eligible to get Rs 500 p. m. If there is more than one beneficiary, the amount shall be Rs 750 p.m. The beneficiary has to apply in prescribed form with certificates for age, income, residential proof for 15 years, not staying in any Vrudhashram and not getting any monthly allowance through any other scheme etc and for being destitute. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) : Under this Scheme, Rs 10000 is given to a BPL family on the death of a primary bread winner between the ages of 18-64 years.

Indira Awaas Yojna : This scheme was introduced in 1985-86 and provides houses free of cost to below poverty line BPL S C/S T families (40%), physically & mentally challenged (3%) and non S C /S T BPL house holds staying in rural areas. This is given for new houses as well as conversion of kucha houses in to pucca ones. Cost of the new house is limited to Rs 35000 in plain areas and Rs 38500 in hilly/difficult areas and for conversion Rs 10000 to be financed by Central and State Governments in ratio of 75/25. Similar scheme for providing shelter to Rural BPL families is announced under Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojna also. The purpose is sustainable human development at the village level. This scheme also provides funds for all basic minimum services in the village viz shelter, slum development, roads, bridges & various other schemes.

Antyodaya Anna Yojna : This scheme is launched in 2001 and provides 35 kg of food grains per family at highly subsidized rates to 1.5 crore of BPL families. Under National Food for Work (NFFW), rice is given free to BPL in certain backward areas. Under Sampurna Gramin Rozgar Yojna (SGRY), 5kg of rice & Rs 32 cash is given as daily wages per day to BPL Workers for works like construction of roads, infrastructure for education, health improvements, improvement of environment etc.

Annapurna Scheme : Under this Scheme launched from 1-4-2001, 10 kg of food grains per month free of cost is provided to BPL persons entitled to IGNOAP but not getting that pension.
Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna : Introduced since April, 99, this scheme provides sustainable income to Rural Poor and BPL families. Under this scheme, credit cum-subsidy is provided for self-employment, skill development etc. It covers all aspects of
Self-Employment like organization of self help groups, training, credit technology, infrastructure & marketing. 4-5 Activities are earmarked for a particular Block with approval of Panchayat Samiti. This is financed in ratio of 75/25 by Centre & state.

Jawahar Gram Samrudhi Yojna : This is the restructured, streamlined & comprehensive version of erstwhile Jawahar Rozgar Yojna, designed to improve quality of life of rural BPL poor. Under this scheme, a demand driven community village infrastructure including durable assets at the village level are created to enable poor to increase the opportunities for sustained employment and generation of supplementary employments.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) : The MGNREG Act 2005 provides enhancement of livelihood security, giving atleast 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
Vrudhashrams : Many States have provided free Vrudhashrams for destitute BPL Senior Citizens with free food, sleeping arrangements, free medical facilities etc. For other Senior Citizens also, some Vrudhashrams with facilities of garden, library, TV, Indoor Games etc are provided by some States. In Maharashtra, Matoshri Vrudhashrams are provided and given to private parties/NGOs for management.

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna : Health Insurance cover is provided under this scheme to BPL workers in unorganized sector and their families (up to 5 members including dependent parents) to the extant of Rs.30000 p.a. The beneficiary has to pay only Rs. 30 p.a. as registration fees. Every State has to implement this scheme in a phased manner.

and cover all their districts by 2012-13. States have to approve Insurance Company/ies in each district and nominate proper Public/Private Hospitals having sufficient facilities as per guidelines. The insurance company shall enroll the beneficiaries. The scheme shall be financed by Central & State governments, as laid down. Smart cards shall be issued to each beneficiary house holds for cashless service in the nominated hospitals. The beneficiaries shall be eligible for coverage of financial costs of inpatient health care services as well as agreed day care procedures not requiring hospitalization, as decided by State Government with Insurance Company. Some basic exclusions are also kept.

Rural Group Life Insurance Scheme-Arogya Raksha Yojna : At the instance of Central Government, LIC has introduced this scheme to provide social security to Rural Families by way of life insurance from 15-8-95 for life cover of Rs 5000 for 2 types of policies. One-general- by full payment of premium by the Applicant and another-subsidized for BPL house holds-one policy for full family. Premium is subsidized by Central & State Governments on 50-50 basis.

Private /Charitable Hospitals

As per provisions in Sec 41AA in The Bombay Public Trust Act,1950 and similar Acts elsewhere, Charity Commissioner has to instruct & ensure that all private charitable hospitals reserve & earmark 10% of total number of Operational Beds and 10% of the total capacity of patients treated at such hospitals for medical examination & treatment in each Department of the hospital for INDIGENT PATIENTS and are required to be given free treatment on par with paying patients and without any discrimination . They are also required to earmark 10% more in both operation & OPD for those belonging to weaker sections of the society seeking admission or treatment and are required to be treated at concessional rates. Indigent person means, whose total income does not exceed Rs 3600 p.a. and person belonging to weaker section means those, whose income does not exceed Rs 15000 p.a. Almost all Private Hospitals, are run by Charitable Trusts and are required to give this facility.