Budget 2021 is due next month and everyone wants their demands to be included in the Union Budget. Like everyone, senior citizens too have their demand. They are expecting the government to make friendly budgetary provisions for them in the Budget 2021-22.
Agewell Foundation interacted with a large number of older persons, their family members and caregivers on a daily basis through its nationwide volunteers’ network. Agewell Foundation has submitted a representation to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and others with an appeal for including the elderly-friendly, measures particularly while finalizing the next budget.
Himanshu Rath, Founder Chairman, Agewell Foundation said, “With longer life span and limited source of income in old age, old people look up to the dynamic Prime Minister for more support from the government, particularly in view of ensuing pandemic situation since for most of the elderly taking care of their own needs has become an uphill task.”
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Here are some of the provisions that the foundation wants from the government for elderly people of the country.
1 Tax benefits on medical expenditure of elderly
Due to pandemic and ever-increasing medicine expenditure, there must be provisions for tax benefits on medical expenditure.
2 Financial security measures
Financial security provisions such as higher rate of interest on savings / investments by older persons with financial institutions (banks/Post Offices/ etc.) be ensured as majority of them have no other source of income in old age. Tax-exemption limits also need to be increased for senior citizens.
3 Special provisions for elderly in government schemes
In all government schemes, focus must also be on special provisions for needs & rights of older persons while implementing the schemes/programs.
4 Dedicated healthcare facilities
Dedicated healthcare facilities must be set up across the country at block level and door-step healthcare services should be provided for older persons, particularly those who are unable to walk, living alone or facing acute health disorders.
5 Social pension scheme
Under the social pension scheme, the monthly amount of Old Age Pension should be revised according to prevailing inflation. Current share of Central Government in the monthly old age pension must be increased up to Rs. 3000/- per month for every old person. The state government should also be advised to modify their share accordingly.
6 Setting up of a National Institute for Promotion of Entrepreneurship
For providing skill training and modern technological know-how to senior citizens in order to retool and empower them for income generation in old age.
7 Establishment of a National Institute for Aged
An Institute needs to be set up on the lines of AIIMS with special focus on Gerontology for addressing age related ailments, treatment of older people and research healthcare on Old Age.
8 Provision for enactment of Older Persons’ Justice Act
For protecting older persons from all kinds of injustice in old age with special focus on protection and strengthening of human rights of older persons.
9 Implementation of Old age homes/ elderly care homes
As per the provisions of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, every district across the country must have an Old Age Home/Care Home so that all destitute elderly, living without any family support are provided with residential facility in old age.
10 Prime Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme for the Retired and Senior Citizens
The scheme should be initiated to tap the unexplored potential of older persons, who have experience, knowledge, wisdom, resources, time and above all zeal to work in old age to keep themselves engaged and connected with the mainstream. This will also create an opportunity for retired people to look for a second job post retirement.
11 Setting up of National Commission for the Aged
The Commission to act on the lines of the Commission for Women and for enabling older persons to achieve equality, equal participation in all spheres of life and protect the rights of the aged.
12 Announcement of Setting up of Foundation for revitalization of traditions and oral knowledge
In order to protect traditional, cultural and moral value system there is an urgent need to set up such an organization in the country.