Sunday, May 27, 2012

Senior citizens in Meghalaya - MWPSCA OAP etc

Main Points: Meghalaya has not notified MWPSCA; THis state did not ask
for any funds under Integrated Program of MOSJE so they did not get
any; For IGNOAP Meghalaya gives 50 rupees and with GOI Rs 200 total
comes to Rs 250/-
Challenges for Meghalaya
Monday, 18 April 2011 20:27

As per 2001 Census, total population of senior citizens was 7.7 crore,
males and females comprising 3.8 crore and 3.9 crore respectively.
Percentage-wise, it was 7.5 percent for total, males and females being
7.1 and 7.8 percents respectively. Because of improved medical
facilities, there is a growing increase in life-expectancy which
implies that people are now living longer. By 2026, the projected
population for senior citizens will be 17.32 crore which comes to 12.4
percent of the total population. People do not merely live longer. But
they also enjoy a secure, dignified and productive life.
The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) , 1999 was announced in
January 1999 to express the commitment towards the well-being of the
older persons. The main objectives of the policy are:
(1) to encourage individuals to make provision for their own as well
as their spouse in old age;
(2)    to encourage families to take care of their older family member;
(3)    to enable and support voluntary and non-governmental
organizations to supplement the care provided by the family;
(4)    to provide care and protection to the vulnerable elderly people;
(5)    to provide adequate healthcare facilities to the elderly;
(6)    to promote research and training facilities to train geriatric
care givers and organizers of services for the elderly; and
(7)    to create awareness regarding elderly persons to help them lead
productive and independent lives.
Accordingly, 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. The NCOP is the highest body to advice the Government in all
matters relating to older citizens. The council was reconstituted in
2005. Regular meetings have been held. As of now, the Council has 50
members comprising Central and State Governments representatives,
representatives of NGOs, Citizens'  groups, retired persons'
associations, and experts in the field of law, social welfare, and
An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Older Persons comprising twenty two
Ministries/Department, and headed by the Secreatary, Social Justice
and Empowerment (SJE) is another coordination mechanism in
implementation of the NPOP. Action Plan on ageing issues for
implementation by various Ministries/Departments concerned is
considered from time to time by the Committee.
There are five main issues being addressed to by the Maintenance and
Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. These are the
(1)    Maintenance of parents/senior citizens by children/ relatives
made obligatory and justiciable through Tribunals.
(2)    Revocation of transfer of property by senior citizens in case
of negligence by relatives.
(3)    Penal provisions for abandonment of senior citizens.
(4)    Establishment of Old Age Homes for indigent senior citizens.
(5)    Adequate medical facilities and security for senior citizens.
Individual State Governments have to enforce this Act in their
respective states. As on February 3 of last year, the Act had been
notified by 22 States and all Union Territories. The Act is not
applicable to the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Himachal Pradesh has its
own Act for senior citizens. The remaining States which are yet to
notify the Act are Bihar, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh .
Prior to all these later developments, as early as 1992, the Centre
has implemented an Integrated Programme for Older Persons(IPOP) to
extend help and attention to senior citizens in all possible aspects
like shelters, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities.
Various agencies, including NGOs, have been involved. Under the
Scheme, financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the project cost is
provided to NGOs. The Scheme has been revised with effect  from April
1, 2008 and financial assistance has also been increased. Those that
are eligible to receive such help are covered under the following main
(1)    Maintenance of Respite Care Homes and Continuous Care Homes.
(2)    Running of Day Care Centres for Alzheimer's Disease/ Dementia patients.
(3)    Physiotherapy clinics for older persons.
(4)    Helplines and Conselling Centres for  older persons. (5)
Sencitizing programmes for children particularly in schools and
(6)    Regional Resource and Training Centres of Caregivers to the
older persons.
(7)    Awareness Generation Programmes for older persons and care givers.
(8)    Formation of senior citizens associations, etc.
The eligibility criteria for beneficiaries of some important
activities/projects supported under the Scheme are:
(1)    Old Age Homes for destitute older persons.
(2)    Mobile Medicare for older persons living in slums, rural and
inaccessible areas where proper health facilities are not available.
(3)    Respite Care Homes and Continuous Care Homes-for older persons
seriously ill requiring continuous nursing care and respite.
Eight States and Union Territories, namely, Goa, Meghalaya, Sikkim,
Andaman& Nicobar Islands Chandigarh, Daman&Dui, Dadra & Nagar  Haveli,
and Lakshadweep did not send any proposals for the year  2009-10.
Hence the Government of India(GOI) did not release any fund at all to
A Non-Plan Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj
Institutions/Voluntary Organizations/ Self-Help Groups for
construction of Old Age Homes/Multi  Service Centres for older persons
was started in 1996-97. Grant-in-aid to the extent of 50 percent of
the construction cost subject to a maximum of Rs.15 lakh was given
under the Scheme and was  disbursed in two installments, first being
70 per cent and second being 30 percent. The organization had to show
matching contribution while applying for second instalment. The Scehme
was not found attractive by implementing agencies and so was
discontinued at the end of the Tenth Plan (2006-07). A new scheme is
under formulation.
Besides these, other Ministries are also extending assistance, in cash
as well as in kind, to senior citizens.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides the following
facilities for senior citizens of:
·    Separate queues for older persons in government hospitals.
·    Two National Institutes on Ageing at Delhi and Chennai have been set up.
·    Geriatric Departments in 25 medical colleges have been set up.
The Ministry of Rural Development has implemented the National Old-age
Pension Scheme (NOAPS)-for persons above 65 years belonging to a
household below poverty  line, Central  assistance is given towards
pension @ Rs.200/- per month, which is meant to be supplemented by at
least an equal contribution by the States so that each beneficiary
gets at least Rs.400/- per month as pension.
The Ministry of Railway provides the following facililties to senior citizens:
·    Separate tickets counters for senior citizens of age 60 years and
above at various (Passenger Reservation System) PRS centres if the
average demand per shift is more than 120 tickets.
·    30% and 50% concession in rail fare for male and female senior
citizens respectively of 60 years and above respectively.
Some of the facilities for senior citizens provided by the Ministry of
Finance are:
·    Income tax exemption for senior citizen of 65 years and above up
to Rs.2.40 lakh per annum.
·    Deduction of Rs.20,000 under section 80D is allowed to an
individual who pays medical insurance premium for his/her parent  or
parents, who is a senior citizens of 65 years and above.
·    An individual is eligible for a deduction of the amount spent or
Rs.60,000 whichever is less for medical treatment (specified diseases
in Rule 11DD of the income tax Rules) of a dependent senior citizens
of 65 years and above.
A Pension Portal has been set up to enable senior citizens to get
information regarding the status of their application, the amount of
pension, documents required, if any, etc. The Portal also provides for
lodging of grievances. As per recommendation of the Sixth Pay
Commission,  additional pension will be provided .
The National Carrier, Air India, provides concession up to 50% for
male senior citizens of 65 years and above, and female senior citizens
of 63 years and above in air fares.


The State should implement the Central Act of 2007 in right earnest as
well as other Schemes being announced by the Government of India. With
regard to Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPs),
Central share is uniform to all the States and Union territories at
the rate of Rs.200 per beneficiary per month. State's share vary from
nil to Rs.800 in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.
Meghalaya's share is a mere Rs.50 only. It will, indeed, be
appropriate if this amount be raised at least at par with that of the
Central share.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph
040-27846631 / 9490804278.

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