Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 41 : Directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development.

Issues with the old age in India

  • India has growing elderly population.
  • Inadequate financial security
  • Cultural issue : many old age people take ill health in their stride as part of their usual or normal ageing

Status of elderly population in India

  • As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore.{6% in 2011 and is rising}
  • Also, the average Indian can expect to live at least 18 years beyond the age of 60, which means the dependency ratio is also rising.

Problems faced by the elderly population

  • The joint family system, which sustained the elderly, is virtually a thing of the past.
  • This leaves a rising number of the elderly even those who were at least middle class in their working years in awful straits.
  • There is no institutional support for the elderly, the cost of both living and Medicare is rising, eroding their savings, and the old-age pension.
  • Due to steadily falling interest rates on bank deposits steadily most middle class elderly actually depend on elderly pension to sustain themselves.

Existing government mechanisms

=>Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) :

  • This scheme is one of a component of National Social Assistance Programme [NSAP]
  • The eligible age for IGNOAPS is 60 years.
  • The pension is Rs.200 p.m. for persons between 60 years and 79 years.
  • For persons who are 80 years and above the pension is Rs.500/ – per month

NSAP comprises of five schemes

1]Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS),

2]Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS),

3]Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS),

4]National Family Benefit Scheme NFBS)


=>Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

  • The Act was enacted in order to provide more effective provision for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens.
  • This Act makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by monthly allowance and justiciable through tribunals.
  • This Act also provides simple, speedy and inexpensive mechanism for the protection of life and property of the older person
  • The Act also provides for revocation of transfer of property by senior citizens in case of negligence by relatives, penal provision for abandonment, etc.
  • Maintenance is defined in the Act as including “provision for food, clothing, residence and medical attendance and treatment”.

Who can claim maintanance under the act ???

Parents : include biological, adoptive and step-parents. The age of parents is irrelevant to claim maintenance.

Grandparentsinclude both maternal and paternal grandparents.

Senior Citizen : an citizen who is Indian 60 years of age or older.

“The only condition for claiming maintenance under this Act is that the persons must be unable to maintain themselves from their own earnings and property”

Who is legally obligated to pay the maintenance as per the Act?

Adult Children and adult grandchildren, both male and female, are responsible for paying maintenance to parents and grandparents. An application can be filed against any one or more of them. Senior citizens who do not have children or grandchildren can claim maintenance from a relative who is either possessing their property or who will inherit their property of the senior citizen after their death

=>Integrated Programme for Older Persons, 1992

  • main objective of the Scheme is to improve the quality of life of the Senior Citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active ageing through providing support for capacity building of State/ UT Governments/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)/Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) / local bodies and the community at large. 

=>“Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana”

  • Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government.
  • Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category’
  • Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency, ‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’, (a PSU under M/o SJ&E),
  • The devices will help the Senior Citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.
  • The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.
  • The assistive devices shall be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards, wherever applicable.
  • The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”.
  • Under the Scheme, the following Aids and Assisted-Living Devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary senior citizens, depending upon their physical impairment :-
  • Walking sticks, Elbow crutches, Walkers / Crutches, Tripods / Quadpods, Hearing Aids, Artificial Dentures ,Wheelchair, Spectacles           

=>The National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE)

It is an articulation of the International and national commitments of the Government as envisaged under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) adopted by the Government of India in 1999 & Section 20 of “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007” dealing with provisions for medical care of Senior Citizen.


  • To provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term, comprehensive and promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to the elderly through community based primary health care approach
  • Creating a new “architecture” for Ageing;
  • To build a framework to create an enabling environment for “a Society for all Ages”;
  • To promote the concept of  Active and Healthy Ageing;
  • To provide an easy access to
  • To identify health problems in the elderly and provide appropriate health interventions in the community with a strong referral backup support.
  • To build capacity of the medical and paramedical professionals as well as the care-takers within the family for providing health care to the elderly.
  • To provide referral services to the elderly patients through district hospitals, regional medical institutions
  • Convergence with National Rural Health Mission, AYUSH and other line departments like Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Community based primary health care approach including domiciliary visits by trained health care workers.
  • Promotion of public private partnerships in Geriatric Health Care.
  • Reorienting medical education to support geriatric issues.

Way ahead

  • Housing for the aged, particularly the aged poor, must be a priority and be made a subset of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
  • Assisted living facilities for indigent elderly, particularly those with age-related issues like dementia, needs policy focus.
  • Finance ministry can give more tax breaks, or at least removing tax on deposit interest for seniors.


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