What are the proposed features of the new National Policy for Senior Citizens? Discuss some of the steps taken by central as well as state governments to ensure social justice for elderly in the country.
The national policy on senior citizens accords priority to the needs of senior citizens aged 80 years and above, elderly women, and the rural poor. Some of the salient policy objectives are to:
- Mainstream the concerns of senior citizens, especially older women, and bring them into the national development debate;
- Promote income security, homecare services, old age pension, healthcare insurance schemes, housing and other programmes/ services;
- Promote care of senior citizens within the family and to consider institutional care as a last resort;
- Work towards an inclusive, barrier-free and age-friendly society;
Recognize senior citizens as a valuable resource for the country, protect their rights and ensure their full participation in society;
- Promote long term savings instruments and credit activities in both rural and urban areas;
- Encourage employment in income generating activities after superannuation;
Support organizations that provide counseling, career guidance and training services;
Various steps taken by government to assist senior citizens:
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is implementing a Central Sector Scheme of Integrated programme for Older Persons (IPOP) since 1992 with the objective of improving the quality of life of senior citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active ageing.
- Old age pension is provided under the Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) which is a component of National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), implemented by Ministry of Rural Development.
- National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly to address various health related problems of elderly people.
- Various concessions by the state and central government in state transports and railways for senior citizens.
- National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC) was established in 2012.
Welfare schemes for the elderly.
- The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was enacted in December 2007.
- Shravan Bal sea Rajya Nivruttivetan Yojana by the Maharashtra government for every destitute person of age 65 years & above &whose annual family income is below Rs. 21000/- & whose name is not included in the BPL List get Rs.600/- per month from the state Govt.
- Vayomitram Scheme by Kerala government which concentrates on elderly health care.
- Sandhya Suraksha Yojana by Karnataka government to provide financial assistance and support to the senior citizens.
Lack of social security net makes the life of the senior citizens miserable. The various schemes can aid senior citizens to effectively cater to needs of senior citizens. Social security net for senior citizens can also aid in addressing menace of meta son preference in the Indian society as sons are regarded as caregivers at old age.