A new National Policy on Older Persons, incorporating a range of welfare measures and an institutional framework for effective implementation, is expected to be unveiled soon.
The policy will be based mostly on the Draft National Policy on Senior Citizens, 2011 headed by V. Mohini Giri, Union Minister for Social Justice & Social Welfare Mukul Wasnik said on Wednesday. He was presiding over a meeting of the National Council for Older Persons here. As of now, the policy announced in 1999 is in vogue.
The Dr. Giri committee recommendations include extension of the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme to all senior citizens living Below the Poverty Line and enhancing the monthly pension to Rs.1,000, to be revised at intervals to prevent its deflation due to higher cost of purchase.
Senior citizens would be given an additional pension in case of disability and loss of adult children. The Public Distribution system would reach out to all BPL senior citizens.
Taxation policies would reflect sensitivity to the senior citizens' financial problems which are aggravated by very high costs of medical and nursing care, transportation and support services needed at homes.
The draft policy envisages the Ministry establishing a “Department of Senior Citizens,” which will be the nodal agency for implementing programmes and services, and the National Policy on Senior Citizens, 2011. Besides, a national commission for senior citizens at the Centre and similar bodies at the State level will be constituted. At Wednesday's meeting, the council members, emphasised the need for an effective implementation mechanism. They also felt the need for generation of awareness of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 at the State and grass-roots levels, according to a Ministry statement.