THE BENEFITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS IN INDIA
I. Transportation: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
- Reservation of two seats for senior citizens in front row of the buses of the State Road Transport Undertakings.
- Some State Governments are giving fare concession to senior citizens in the State Road Transport Undertaking buses and are introducing Bus Models, which are convenient to the elderly.
Under Delhi Transport Corporation:
- Special Hire Service: - Apart from the normal services, the Corporation also provides buses to the Citizen of Delhi on Special Hire for marriage parties, picnics, etc.
- Free/Concessional Passes: - DTC also offers Free Passes to disabled persons, war-widows & their dependents, eminent sport personalities, Freedom Fighters etc. and Concessional Passes to various categories of commuters viz. Students, Senior Citizens, Residents of Resettlement Colonies, Journalists, etc. For Senior citizens above the age of 60 years, Bus pass for all routes at Rs. 50 per month. Income has to be below Rs. 75000 per year.
Ministry of Railways:
- Indian Railways provide 30% concession in all classes and trains including Rajdhani/Shatabadi trains for both males and females aged 60 years and above.
- Indian Railways also have the facility of separate counters for Senior Citizens for purchase/booking/cancellation of tickets.
- Wheel Chairs for use of older persons are available at all junctions, District Headquarters and other important stations for the convenience of needy persons including the older persons.
- Ramps for wheel chairs movement are available at the entry to important stations.
- Specially designed coaches with provisions of space for wheel chairs, hand rail and specially designed toilet for handicapped persons have been introduced.
Ministry of Civil Aviation:
- Indian Airlines is providing 50 per cent Senior Citizen Discount on Normal Economy Class fare for all domestic flights to Indian senior citizens who have completed the age of 65 years in the case of male senior citizens and 63 years in the case of female senior citizens subject to certain conditions.
- Air India is offering discount of 55% to senior citizens of 60 plus on flights to USA, UK and Europe on economy class. Further, Air India has now decided to reduce the age of 60 plus for discount on their domestic routes as well with immediate effect. For Identity card, 2 passport sized photographs have to be submitted along with the form.
- Jetlite offers a discount of 50% on economy class for citizens of 65 years or above. One passport sized photograph required on the form along with age proof.
- Jet Airways offers discount to senior citizens of 65 years or above. For availing discount in domestic flights, senior citizens have to fill up a discount form along with a passport sized photograph and Age proof certificate. Jet Airways also provides Senior Citizen I-Card which is available in all ticket counters and requires 2 passport sized photographs and age proof certificate. For the I-Card a very nominal amount is charged.
- Faults/complaints of senior citizens are given priority by registering them under senior citizens category with VIP flag, which is a priority category.
- Senior citizens are allowed to register telephone connection under N-OYT Special Category, which is a priority category.
- MTNL in NCR offers a discount of 25% on Rs. 250 per month Plan. Age limit is 65 years or above. III. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:
i) Under the Antyodaya Scheme, the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families which also include older persons are provided food grains at the rate of 35 kgs. per family per month. The food grains are issued @ Rs.3/- per kg. for rice and Rs.2/- per kg. for wheat. The persons aged 60 years above from the BPL category were given priority for identification.
- Under the Annapoorna Scheme being implemented by the States/UT Administration, 10 kgs. of food grains per beneficiary per month are provided free of cost to those senior citizens who remain uncovered under the old age pension scheme.
- Instructions to State Governments for giving priority to the Ration Card holders who are over 60 years of age in Fair Price Shops for issue of rations.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare:
- Separate queues for elderly persons in hospitals for registration and clinical examination.
- Special Clinics, every Sunday between 10 am to 12 noon, for elderly persons available at the following hospitals in New Delhi.
a) Lok Nayak Hospital
b) GTB Hospital
c) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital
d) Aruna Asafjahan Ali Hospital
e) Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital
f) Dr. Joshi Memorial Hospital
g) Babu Jagjeevan Ram Hospital
h) Ram Rao Tula Memorial Hospital
i) Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital
The services include health check-ups, operations, treatment of physically invalid, gynecology, ENT and ophthalmology along with pathological and radio therapy facilities.
V. Income Tax (Ministry of Finance):
- For senior citizens the exemption limit is Rs. 2,50,000 up to which senior citizen pays no income-tax at all. The benefit of higher exemption limit for a senior citizen is available only when a person has completed 60 years of age.
- The senior citizen should also take full advantage of section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 whereby deduction up to Rs. 1.00 lakh is available for investment by way of insurance premium, repayment of the housing loan or investment in Senior Citizens Savings Scheme as also the Bank Fixed Deposit.
- Similarly as also the Bank Fixed Deposit. Similarly, the citizen can also take advantage of the Mediclaim Policy. In case senior citizen or any member of his family suffers from serious medical problem of suffers from some disability he can claim certain other deductions under the tax law.
VI. MINISTRY OF SOCIAL & EMPLOYMENT
- Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry responsible for welfare of the Senior Citizens. It has announced the National Policy on Older Persons which seeks to assure older persons that their concerns are national concerns and they will not live unprotected, ignored and marginalized. The National Policy aims to strengthen their legitimate place in the society and to help older people to live the last phase of their life with purpose, dignity and peace. The National Policy on Older Persons inter alia visualizes support for financial security, health care and nutrition, shelter, emphasis upon education, training and information needs, provision of appropriate concessions, rebates and discounts etc. to Senior Citizens and special attention to protect and strengthen their legal rights such as to safeguard their life and property. The National Policy on Older Persons confers the status of senior citizen to a person who has attained the age of 60 years.
- The Ministry is also implementing following schemes for the benefit of Senior Citizens:
(a) An Integrated Programme for Older Persons (Plan Scheme) – This Scheme has been formulated by revising the earlier scheme of “Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Programme relating to the Welfare of the Aged”. Under this Scheme, financial assistance up to 90% of the project cost is provided to NGOs for establishing and maintaining Old Age Homes, Day Care Centers, Mobile Medicare Units and to provide non-institutional services to older persons.
(b) The Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Voluntary Organizations/Self Help Groups for Construction of Old Age Homes/Multi-Service Centers for older persons (Non Plan Scheme) - Under this Scheme, one time construction grant for Old Age Homes/Multi-Service Centre is provided to non-governmental organizations on the recommendation of the State Governments/ UT Administrations.
VII. Ministry of Rural Development:
- Under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, Central Assistance of Rs. 75/- p.m. is granted to destitute older persons above 65 years. This Scheme has been transferred to the State Plan w.e.f. 2002-03.
- Under the Annapurna Scheme, free food grains (wheat or rice) up to 10 kg. per month are provided to destitute older persons 65 years or above who are otherwise eligible for old age pension but are not receiving it.