A “senior citizen” means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above. The vulnerability among the elderly is due to an increased incidence of illness and disability, economic dependency upon their spouses, children and other younger family members.
Senior Citizens in Numbers
According to Census 2011 there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males.
The common forms of abuse of elderly persons are:
• Physical abuse: Hitting, pushing, kicking
• Inappropriate use of drugs or restraints: over- and under medicating and withholding medication from patients
• Psychological or emotional abuse: Insults, threats, humiliation, confinement, isolation and depriving them of dignity (for instance, by leaving them in soiled clothes)
• Financial abuse : Misusing or stealing a person’s money or assets
• Neglect or abandonment: Not providing food, housing, or medical care
• Sexual abuse: Sexual contact without consent
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana
Government has launched the ‘Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)’ to provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
It is a Central Sector Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category. The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”.
The Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing
Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Vayoshreshtha Sammans – A Scheme of National Award for Senior Citizens.
The Scheme is funded by the Central government. This scheme is applicable for eminent senior citizens and institutes involved in rendering distinguished services for the cause of elderly persons.
• Article 41: The State to protect the rights of old age persons particularly social security.
Legislation Related to Aged/Senior Citizens
• Maintenance and Welfare Of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
o Obligation of children to maintain his/her parents so that such parent may lead a normal life
o Obligation of any person or relative to maintain senior citizen provided that person/relative is in possession of property of such senior citizen or will inherit his/her property
• National Policy on Senior Citizens 2011-
It focuses on implementation of existing policies which include:
o Awareness generation for the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
o Setting up a helpline for senior citizens
o Establishing a National Commission for Senior Citizens, and
o Establishing a National Trust for the Aged.
Institutions and Bodies for the betterment of senior citizens:
National Council for Senior Citizens
A National Council for Senior Citizens, headed by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has been constituted by the Ministry. The mandate of the National Council of Senior Citizens is to advise the Central and State Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to the welfare of senior citizens and enhancement of their quality of life
Senior Citizen Welfare Fund
• Senior Citizen Welfare Fund has been established by the Government to promote financial security of senior citizens, old age pension, healthcare, health insurance and welfare of elderly widows.
• The Fund will also fund schemes related to old-age homes, day care of senior citizens and research activities related with ageing.