initiative to help - add life to years
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Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry responsible for welfare of the Senior Citizens. It had announced the National Policy on Older Persons covering all concerns pertaining to the welfare of older persons. The National Policy for Senior Citizens, 2011 is under examination in this Ministry. This Ministry is celebrating World Elder Day on 1st October every year and give Vayoshreshtha Awards to Senior Citizens doing outstanding work.

The ageing poses two-pronged challenge. First is the need to ensure care and protection of the elderly so that they live a healthy, dignified and productive life. And, second, the older people must be looked at as partners in progress rather than a burden on society. To address this issue of ageing in a comprehensive manner the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) in 1999 to ensure active and productive ageing by evolving a framework of providing financial, medical, social and emotional support.

The foundation of the new policy, "National Policy for Senior Citizens 2011" is based on several factors. These include the demographic explosion among the elderly, the changing economy and social milieu, advancement in medical research, science and technology and high levels of destitution among the elderly rural poor. This policy addresses issues concerning senior citizens living in urban and rural areas, special needs of the "oldest old‟ and older women.

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has taken a number of pro-active steps to safeguard the interest of the rights of the elderly:

It has enacted "The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007". The Act essentially aims at creating an enabling mechanism to make the claim for maintenance simpler, speedier and affordable.

The Ministry is also making concerted efforts to ensure that the lives of the older persons become more comfortable. The grant-in-aid scheme called the "Integrated Programme for Older Persons" extends grants to NGOs for supporting old age homes, day care centres and mobile medi-care units.

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched the Project 'NICE' (National Initiative on Care for Elderly). This is implemented through National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), an autonomous body of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in 2000. This programme supports developing skilled caregivers for the elderly. A frontline cadre of caregivers to ensure quality care at home as well as in the institutions is one of the important strategies set out for future.

National programme for Health care of Elderly (NPHCE) has been formulated and implemented in the country through the ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The major objectives of the NPHCE include provision of dedicated health care facilities for elderly at various levels of State healthcare delivery system.

The Home Ministry has issued advisory to State Governments to pay special attention to security to the life and property of older persons.The measures include having a senior citizen security scheme in place in all police stations which will have senior citizen cell, toll free help line and the interactive website to monitor the old. The financial security measures for senior citizens are being implemented by the Center, State government departments and financial institutions in form of pensions, insurances and loans. Various concessions for travel to older persons are also available.