Prelims Syllabus : Schemes Mains Syllabus : GS-II Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Why in News?
- The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment by the Lok Sabha Speaker. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2019.
Key Provisions of the Bill:
- It seeks to amend The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007.
- Definition of ‘children’ and ‘parents’, ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.
- Mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.
- Ceiling of Rs 10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.
- Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.
- Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.
- Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes have been included in the Bill.
- Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.
- Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been Included.”
Elders – A Key Resource:
- The elderly should be seen as a blessing, not a burden.
- The elderly are becoming the fastest growing, but underutilized resource available to humanity.
- Rather than putting them aside, physically (and mentally), to be cared for separately, they should be integrated into the lives of communities where they can make a substantial contribution to improving social conditions.
- The benefits of turning the ‘problem’ of the elderly into a ‘solution’ for other social problems are being demonstrated in several countries.
Need of an Hour:
- As a signatory to Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.
- Issues of poverty, migration, urbanisation, ruralisation and feminisation compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon.
- Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.
- Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
- The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
- Increasing social/widow pension and its universalisation is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
- Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pensionand Widow Pension Scheme.
- Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered.