New Delhi : In pursuance of the National Policy for Older Persons (NPOP), a National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) was constituted in 1999 under the Chairpersonship of the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment to oversee implementation of the Policy and advise the Government in the formulation and implementation of policy and programmes for the aged. In 2012, the NCOP was reconstituted in order to encourage more participation from every region and renamed as National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC). The third meeting of the Council was held on 13 June, 2018. The issues discussed in the 3rd meeting of the NCSrC involved Schemes/Programmes/Act for the welfare of Senior Citizens being run by various Ministries/Departments in addition to D/oSJE. Major recommendations and challenges drawn by the council in the 3′d meeting, and status/ action taken by the Government thereof, is furnished below:
- Amendments to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007:
Recommendation:- The Council suggested strengthening of the Act to make it more effective.
Status/ Action Taken:- Based on the recommendations of various stakeholders, including NCSrC, the Government of India has introduced the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on 11.12.2019.
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RYY):
Recommendation:- The Council suggested for organizing of more distribution camps across the States/UTs.
Status/ Action Taken:- W.e.f. 1.4.2021, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment revised the Scheme for RVY to cover all the districts in the country.
- Revised Scheme of Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC):
Recommendation:- Council member suggested the process of on-line registration of NGOs may be simplified, and empanelment of voluntary organisation may be made mandatory.
Status/ Action Taken:- The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has been maintaining simplified Online NGO portal namely e-Anudaan (https://grants-msje.gov.in) to process online registration of NGOs. It is mandatory for the NGOs to get empanelled under NITI Aayog’s DARPAN portal, in PFMS, and on Expenditure Advance and Transfer (EAT) Module for receiving the grant-in-aids.
- Senior Citizen’s Welfare Fund (SCWF):
Recommendation:- The Council was of the view that financial assistance to those senior citizens who are cancer patients may be provided from SCWF.
Status/ Action Taken:- The Government of India through Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) is already providing financial assistance upto Rs. 2 lakhs to cancer patients (Rs. 5 lakhs in emergency cases).
- Financial Assistance under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Schemes (IGNOAPS):
Recommendation:- The Council was apprised that features of IGNOAPS like pension amount, criteria for identifying beneficiaries etc. was under revision.
Status/ Action Taken:- Ministry of Rural Development implements the National Social Assistance Programs (NSAP) whereby Old Age Pension is provided to BPL senior Citizens under IGNOAPS. The central contribution of pension under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) is Rs. 200/- per month per beneficiary up to 79 years and Rs.500/- per month per beneficiary from 80 year onwards and the State Governments may contribute over and above to this amount. At present old age beneficiaries are getting anywhere between Rs. 200/- to Rs. 1000/- depending on the State Contribution. All the persons who are 60 years of age in a BPL family are eligible to get old age pension.
- Social Security to Senior Citizens:
Recommendation:- The Council suggested that in respect of UTs which are directly under the Central Government Ministry of Home Affairs should take a pro-active role in ensuring safety and security of Senior Citizen in the Union Territories.
Status/ Action Taken:- Ministry of Home Affairs has issued advisories to the States/UTs on “Implementation of National Policy on Older Persons” and also on “Protection of Life and Property of Senior Citizens”. These advisories are available in www.mha.gov.in .
- Facilities at Railway Stations:
Recommendation:- The Council had suggested for the concession in air-fare to senior citizens and launch of 2-tier non-AC trains for senior citizens.
Status/ Action Taken:-Ministry of Railways provides a combined quota of six(6) lower berths per coach in sleeper class and three (3) lower berth per coach each in AC-3 tier and AC-2 tier classes has been earmarked for Senior Citizens. Male senior citizens are given 40% concession and female senior citizens at 58 years and above are given 50% concession in the ticket fare in all classes of Mail/Express/Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi/Duronto group of trains.
- Bridging of Inter-generational Gap:
Recommendation:- Council suggested for inclusion of compulsory counseling session on Inter-generational bonding as a part of the school curriculum/syllabus.
Status/ Action Taken:-National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) considers revision of curriculum time to time to include relevant content in the syllabus. Ministry of Human Resources (now Ministry of Education)/ NCERT informed the Council that since the issue of inter-generational bonding is a social concern and has relevance in today’s world, inclusion of the relevant content in the syllabus will be considered.
This information was given by The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Sushri Pratima Bhaumik in the Lok Sabha in a written reply today.