Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Executive Summary
First of all Social Security is primarily social insurance program providing social protection or protections against socially recognized conditions including Old Age, Poverty, Disability, Unemployment and others. Social Security may refer to: Social Insurance where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance scheme. These services typically include provision for retireme nt pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits, and unemployment insurance. Income maintenance²mainly the distribution of cash in the event of interruption of employment, including retirement, disability and unemployment Services provided by administrations responsible for social security. In different countries this may include medical care, aspects of social work and even industrial relations. More rarely, the term is also used to refer to basic security, a term roughly equivalent to access to basic necessities²things such as food, clothing, shelter, education, money, and medical care. Social Security for Senior citizens means the Social Security act or benefits that proved to be useful for the betterment of the Senior Citizen s. It includes all the laws and acts that state the policy for Old Age¶. They were the ones who were vested with the authority for decision-making with regard to the economic affairs and social matter's, both within the family as well as for the community. The moral sanctions laid down by the community also reinforced the responsibility of the family to offer a caring environment for the aged regardless of their productive capacity. Today in most of the countries the old age people are not treated in a good manner. Therefore the policy has laid down certain laws and benefits that helped Old age people survive in their life and fight for the uncertainities that create hurdles in the long run.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to: Social insurance, where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance scheme. These services typically include provision for retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits and unemployment insurance. Income maintenance ²mainly the distribution of cash in the event of interruption of employment, including retirement, disability and unemployment Services provided by administrations responsibl e for social security. In different countries this may include medical care, aspects of social work and even industrial relations. More rarely, the term is also used to refer to basic security, a term roughly equivalent to access to basic necessities ²things such as food, clothing, shelter, education, money, and medical care. Social insurance Social protection refers to a set of benefits available (or not available) from the state, market, civil society and households, or through a combination of these agencies, to the individual/households to reduce multi -dimensional deprivation. This multi-dimensional deprivation could be affecting less active poor persons (e.g. the elderly, disabled) and active poor persons (e.g. unemployed). This broad framework makes this concept more acceptable in developing countries than the concept of social security. Social security is more applicable in the conditions, where large numbers of citizens depend on the formal economy for their livelihood. Through a defined contribution, this social security may be managed. But, in the context of wide spread informal economy, formal social security arrangements are almost absent for the vast majority of the working population. Besides, in developing countries, the state's capacity to reach the vast majority of the poor people may be limited because of its limited resources. In such a context, multiple agencies that could provide for social protection is important

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

for policy consideration. The framework of social protection is thus capable o f holding the state responsible to provide for the poorest sections by regulating non-state agencies. Collaborative research from the Institute of Development Studies debating Social Protection from a global perspective, suggests that advocates for social protection fall into two broad categories: 'instrumentalists' and 'activists'. 'Instrumentalists' argue that extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability, is dysfunctional in the achievement of development targets (e.g. the MDGs). In this view social protection is about putting in place risk management mechanisms that will compensate for incomplete or missing insurance (and other) markets, until a time that private insurance can play a more prominent role in that society. 'Activist' arguments view the pers istence of extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability, as symptoms of social injustice and structural inequality and see social protection as a right of citizenship. Targeted welfare is a necessary step between humanitarianism and the ideal of a 'guaranteed social minimum' where entitlement extends beyond cash or food transfers and is based on citizenship, not philanthropy.[2]Matters relating to Social Security are listed in the Directive Principles of State Policy and the subjects in the Concurrent List. The following social security issues are mentioned in the Concurrent List (List III in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India) ±


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens WHY DO WE NEED SOCIAL SECURITY?

Social Security protects not just the subscriber but also his/her entire family by giving benefit packages in financial security and health care. Social Security schemes are designed to guarantee at least long -term sustenance to families when the earning member retires, dies or suffers a disability. Thus the main strength of the Social Security system is that it acts as a facilitator - it helps people to plan their own future through insurance and assistance. The success of Social Security schemes however requires the active support and involvement of employees and employers. As a worker/employee, you are a source of Social Security protection for yourself and your family. As an employer you are responsible for providing adequate social security coverage to all your workers.
Background information on Social Security :

India has always had a Joint Family system that took care of the social security needs of all the members provided it had access/ownership of material assets like land. In keeping with its cultural traditions, family members and relatives have always discharged a sense of shared responsibility towards one another. To the extent that the family has resources to draw upon, this is often the best relief for the special needs and care required by the aged and those in poor health. However with increasing migration, urbanization and demographic changes there has been a decrease in large family units. This is where the formal system of social security gains importance. However, information and awareness are the vital factors in widening the coverage of Social Sec urity schemes. Social Security Benefits in India are Need -based i.e. the component of social assistance is more important in the publicly -managed schemesIn the Indian context, Social Security is a comprehensive approach designed to prevent deprivation, assure the individual of a basic minimum income for himself and his dependents and to protect the individual from any uncertainties. The State bears the primary responsibility for developing appropriate system for providing protection and assistance to its workforce. Social Security is increasingly viewed as an integral part of the development process. It helps to create a more positive attitude to the challenge of globalization and the consequent structural and technological changes.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

The principal social security laws enacted in India are the following: The Employees¶ State Insurance Act, 1948 The Employees¶ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (Separate provident fund legislations exist for workers employed in Coa l mines and tea plantations in the state of Assam and for seamen). The Workmen¶s Compensation Act, 1923 The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

The principal social security laws enacted in India are the following: (i) The Employees¶ State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESI Act) which covers factories and establishments with 10 or more employees and provides for comprehensive medical care to the employees and their families as well as cash benefits during sickness and maternity, and monthly payments in case of death or disablement. (ii) The Employees¶ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (EPF & MP Act) which applies to specific scheduled factories and establishments employing 20 or more employees and ensures terminal benefits to provident fund, superannuation pension, and family pension in case of death during service. Separate laws exist for similar benefits for the workers in the coal mines and tea plantations. (iii) The Workmen¶s Compensation Act, 1923 (WC Act), which requires payment of compensation to the workman or his family in cases of employment related injuries resulting in death or disability. (iv) The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (M.B. Act), which provides for 12 weeks wages during maternity as well as paid leave in certain other related contingencies.

(v) The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (P.G. Act), which provides 15 days wages for each year of service to employees who have worked for five years or more in establishments having a minimum of 10 workers.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Separate Provident fund legislation exists for workers employed in Coal Mines and Tea Plantations in the State of Assam and fo r seamen.

The Employees¶ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is administered by the Government of India through the Employees¶ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Cash benefits under the Employees¶ State Insurance Act, 1948 are administered by the Central Government through the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), whereas the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations are administering medical care under the Employees¶ State Insurance Act, 1948. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is administered by the Central Government in establishments under its control, establishments having branches in more than one State, major ports, mines, oil fields and the railways and by the State Govern ments and Union Territory Administrations in all other cases. This Act applies to factories and other establishments. In mines and circus industry, the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are being administered by the Central Government through t he Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) and by the State Governments in factories, plantations and other establishments. The provisions of the Workmen¶s Compensation Act, 1923 are being administered exclusively by the State Governments.



Social Security to the workers in the Organized Sector is provided through five Central Acts, namely, the ESI Act, the EPF & MP Act, the Workmens¶ Compensation Act, the Maternity Benefit Act, and the Payment of Gratuity Act. In addition, there are a large number of welfare funds for certain specified segments of workers such as beedi workers, cine workers, construction workers etc.

Most social security systems in developed countries are linked to wage employment. In India our situation is entirely different from that obtaining in developed countries. The key differences are: i) We do not have an existing universal social security system ii) We do not face the problem o f exit rate from the workplace being higher than the replacement rate. Rather on the contrary lack of employment opportunities is the key concern, iii) 92% of the workforce is in the informal sector which is largely unrecorded and the system of pay roll deduction is difficult to apply. Even today 1/8th of the world¶s older people live in India. The overwhelming majority of these depend on transfers from their children. Addressing social security concerns with particular reference to retirement income for workers within the coverage gap has been exercising policy makers across the world. In India the coverage gap i.e. workers who do not have access to any formal scheme for old -age income provisioning constitute about 92% of the estimated workforce of 400 million people. Hence the global debate and evaluation of options for closing the coverage gap is of special significance to India. The gradual breakdown of the family system has only underscored the urgency to evolve an appropriate policy that would help current participants in the labour force to build up a minimum retirement income for themselves.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

iv) The coverage gap in India is broadly categorized under the following groups: a) b) c) Agricultural sector = 180 million.

Contract, services, construction = 60 million. Trade, Commerce, transport, storage = 100 million. = 30 million.

& Communications d) Others



= 370 million


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens EXTENSION OF COVERAGE

Currently, social security policy makers and administrators are engaged in a wide-ranging debate to redress the problems in providing social security in the country. This debate has thrown up various arguments on the efficacy of publicly managed social security schemes as opposed to privately managed schemes. There is no standard model that can be adopted on this issue. In the Indian context the privately managed schemes can at best be considered as supplementary schemes after the mandatory schemes managed publicly. It is only the publicly managed scheme, which will extend to all the sectors of the workforce. The challenge of closing the coverage gap in social security provisions has to be developed at two levels. The first level involves the re engineering of the institutional arrangements to increase efficien cy. The second level is to create an appropriate legislative and administrative framework for significant increase in the social security coverage especially in the unorganized sector.

In India currently only about 35 million out of a workforce of 400 mi llion have access to formal social security in the form of old -age income protection. This includes private sector workers, civil servants, military personnel and employees of State Public Sector Undertakings. Out of these 35 million, 26 million workers are members of the Employees¶ Provident Fund Organization. As such the current publicly managed system in India is more or less entirely anchored by the Employees¶ Provident Fund Organisation. It may be noted that in the last 50 years, the Employees¶ Provident Fund Organisation has been in existence, there has been no instance of any scam or a situation where the Fund has been exposed to speculation and risk. Another important contribution of EPF is now proposed to extend to the critical life benefit of pr oviding shelter. The Shramik Awas Yojana aims at providing a cost effective Housing Scheme specific for EPF numbers. This involves cooperation between organizations such as HUDCO, Housing Agencies, State Governments, Employers and EPF Members with the EPFO playing the role of facilitator. The investments are directed into the prescribed securities and portfolios as per the pattern laid down by the Finance Ministry.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens NEW INITIATIVE IN SOCIAL SECURITY

Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY): This scheme proposed in the 2003-04 budget by the Ministry of Finance is to be administered by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Its main featues are summarized below: · Under VPBY, any citizen above 55 years of age, could pay a lump -sum, and get a monthly pensions are pegged at Rs. 250 and Rs. 2000 per month respectively. These amounts are not indexed to inflation. · There is a guaranteed return of 9 percent per annum for this scheme.

· The difference between the actual yield earned by the LIC under this scheme and the 9 percent will be made up by the Central Government.

Pension Criteria
Superannuation pension will be payable on attaining the age of 58 years and on completion of 20 years of service or more. Early pension can be taken at a reduced rate between 50-58 years of age, on completion of 10 years Pensionable service or more. No pension for less than 10 years of service lump sum withdrawal benefit is paid in such cases.

Benefits under the Scheme
The Employees¶ Pension Scheme, 1995 provides the following benefit package; Superannuation pension. Early pension Permanent total disablement Widow or Widower¶s pension Children pension or Orphan pension Nominee pension / dependent parents pension.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Senior citizens, also known as the "Golden Agers" are the repositories of experiences and wisdom in any society. In most traditional societies, therefore, they have enjoyed unparalleled sense of honour, respect, and legitimate authority. They were the ones who were vested with the authority for decision-making with regard to the economic affairs and social matter's, both within the family as well as for the community. The moral sanctions laid down by the community also reinforced the respo nsibility of the family to offer a caring environment for the aged regardless of their productive capacity (Singh, 1997). The old and the young are complimentary to one another. An apt
proverb in Male is that "a young man's gait is rapid, but he does not know the way; an old man's gait is slow but it made the way" (Luthra, 1997).

Undoubtedly, the senior citizens uphold social norms and traditions. They contribute towards the procreation of common culture and are often the binding forces, both within the fa mily and in the community. Society, therefore, has obligations towards the "Golden Agers" both directly and indirectly because in the prime of their li \ es they have worked relentlessly and have contributed towards the socio-economic growth of the family, the community, and the nation. Now in the evenings of their lives, when their capacities have waned, the society also has an obligation and has the responsibility to look after their welfare. Ageing has been viewed differently by different people. Whereas to some it means power, authority, wisdom, and respect, others consider it as a forced retirement leading to a state of dependency, loss of charm and of physical strength.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Ageing is a natural process, which inevitably occurs in human life cycle. It brings with a host of challenges in the life of the elderly, which are mostly engineered by the changes in their body, mind, thought process and the living patterns. Ageing refers to a decline in the functional capacity of the organs of the human body, which occurs mostly due to physiological transformation, it never imply that everything has been finished. The senior citizens constitute a precious reservoir of such human resource as is gifted with knowledge of various sorts, varied experiences and deep insights . May be they have formally retired, yet an overwhelming majority of them are physically fit and mentally alert. Hence, given an appropriate opportunity, they are in a position to make significant contribution to the socio -economic development of their nat ion.

Ageing is a universal biological fact and a natural process. It begins from the day we are born, or perhaps even before. The perception of age, however, is socially constructed. Isolation, exclusion and marginalization of older persons are the consequences of age discrimination. It not only undermines the status of older persons in society but also threatens the overall development of a society. The quality of life of the older person, however, can be improved by mainstreaming their concerns systematically into the overall developmental agenda. In the modern times, the role of family has been undergoing significant changes. Even in traditional societies of Asia or Africa there is a visible change taking place so far as the role and function of family is concerned. The traditional joint family system is gradually making way for nuclear family mode. Family, nevertheless, occupies a unique place in the traditional as well as modern societies even today. It assumes diverse fo rms and functions that vary from region to region. In a society, as large and culturally diverse and complex as India, changes take place at different speeds and at different levels of population. As such, the directions and pattern of change tend to vary not only among different segments of society, but also in different kinds of family organizations, which vary considerably both structurally and functionally. Indian family, which has been predominantly joint or extended one, remained stable despite some marked and drastic social, political, economic and religious changes over the last few decades. It has, however, retained certain structural forms and traditional values. The historical cultural tradition of care and respect for the elderly within the family and the community has made the task of caring and empowering the aged relatively smooth and easy both for the society and the Government in India.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Old age has been defined variously in different societies and also crossculturally. It is a relative concept and different meanings have been attributed in different contexts. It is, nevertheless, universally accepted as the last phase of human life cycle. The timing of this phase, its impact on social roles and relationships, and the meanings attached to it vary greatly from one society to another and also in different sub-groups of the concerned society. A complex of combinations of demographic, economic, and social factors affects

differentiation in this sphere. On the basis of these contextual variations, the term 'old age' can be defined broadly under three different heads: (1) Physical ageing; (2) Social and cultural ageing; and (3) Psychological ageing.

Physical Ageing
Physical ageing is defined on the basis of the anatomical and physiological changes that take place in the life of an individual with the passage of time. American Gerontologist, Lassing (1972) defined old age as "a process of unfavourable, progressive changes correlated with the passage of time, becoming apparent after maturity and terminating invariably in death of the individual." Similarly, Charles Becker (1959) views ageing "as those changes occurring in an individual as a result of the passage of time." Both these definitions imply that there is a gradual degeneration of tissue and cellular atrophy resulting in progressive degradation of physiological processes. Such changes are though generally related to the chronological age, they are more often "conditioned by the status of nutrition and healt h as well as housing and employment facilities in a country or a social group within a country" (Fernandes, 1982).


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Social and Cultural Ageing
Social and cultural ageing are inter -related concepts, but they differ from one another on the basis of their emphasis. Social ageing emphasises the changes in behavioural pattern and the role and status of individuals in the family. In the Indian context for example, the marriage of the eldest son and the arrival of the daughter -in-law in the household coul d bring about significant changes in the role and status of the mothers -in-law who may start considering themselves as old. The parameters of social ageing also vary in different societies.

The cultural approach, on the other hand, gives importance to the role of an individual during his life span. Ageing is regarded as the cultural progression of an individual through different stages of life. According to the Hindu tradition the 'Vanaprastha Ashram' is considered to be the onset of old age. After completion of their adult roles of making a living, setting up of the household and the rearing of children it enj oined upon people to withdraw from active life of the society. This view of ageing is very similar to the 'disengagement theory' of ageing propounded by Gumming and Henry (1961) which advocates for the gradual withdrawal from the roles and duties of the society. In modern times, retirement from service heralds the onset of old age in case of the employees of the organised sector. To a larger extent, this concept continues to influence the collective view of old age. It is often thought of as an extension of life during which period paid employment or self-engagement is shortened and eventually lead to total retirement. Indeed, cultural changes have a direct bearing on the popular view of old age.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Psychological Ageing
Psychological ageing is related to the state of mind of an individual. It assumes that ageing processes can be accelerated because of the stresses and strains of life. The indices of psychological age, therefore, differ from one individual to another and can vary in different sodo -cultural groups. According to this perspective, a positive state of mind and continue d interest in life and things around oneself greatly helps in reducing the ageing process. On the other hand, an unfavourable and negative attitude towards the changed physical and social conditions prove not only to be a hurdle in better adjustment in old age but also brings about psychological ageing more quickly. The health consciousness of the '90s' in the metropolitan cities is an example that has brought about significant changes in the mental attitude of the elderly population especially amongst the upper middle and the affluent class of people towards ageing. More and more people are motivated towards maintaining a younger and healthier appearance, which helps them not only in concealing their chronological age but also add to their longevity. Old ag e is often determined by the age of retirement from the labour market. But for a large majority of women who are not in the labour market, or the men and women working in the unorganised sector, there is no formal age for retirement.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens


The problems associated with ageing are primarily related to health, economic aspects, housing, and leisure time activities, These issues, are often interrelated and need to be viewed in a holistic manner. As for example, the socio -cultural conditions coupled with advanced age may exert enormous mental pressures which could give rise to a variety of manifestation. Escalation in the cost of medicare often affect inter -personal -.relationships amongst the family. Similarly, socio-economic conditions unleash a chain of overlapping problems. The aged especially from the lower income groups often suffer from ill health and prolonged illness, mainly due to malnutrition, which in turn adds up to pressures on the economic front (Khan, 1997). It is, therefore, im portant to study all the aspects m details with a view to identify the nature of programmes that may be required to effectively overcome the problems of the elderly belonging to different socio-economic strata; As far as possible methods should also be devised to prevent their occurrence and or recurrence. Ageing indicates a type of process which is manifested by accumulation of adverse changes that decreases the ability of a person for carrying out various specialised functions. Ageing processes though are inherent and inevitable they are independent of stresses, trauma, or diseases and are neither identical nor do they progress at 4 the same pace in all persons. There are great variations in the ageing processes. These can be classified as; (i) Primary ageing and (ii) Secondary ageing. Primary ageing also referred to as Biological ageing, is due to physical changes : in the body system with advancement in years. Secondary ageing can be further recognised as: (a)Cognitive ageing which refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

information; (b) Affective ageing that refers to reduced adaptive capacities of the individual in relation

Functional disorders in the aged were more widespread. One in three persons over 65 was-affected with this, and half of them suffered from neurotic disorders requiring supportive mental health care (cf. Dandekar,1996). The present study did not focus specifically on the mental health status of the aged. Desjarlais (1995) reviewed 15 studies on psychiatric disorders and psychological distress carried out over the last decade in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. He found "a consistency across diverse societies and social contexts: symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as unspecified psychiatric disorders and psychological distress are more prevalent among women, whereas substance disorders are more prevalent among more prevalent was observed that gender differences in psychiatric illness in women are due t o "poverty. domestic isolation, powerlessness resulting from economic dependence or low levels of education and patriarchal oppression studies indicate that depression was found to be more in poor women who have to deal with chronic sources of social stress in the form of low quality housing, dangerous neighbourhoods, higher risk of becoming victims of violence and of encountering problems in parenting and child care. Most of the deaths attributable to suicide each year are due to depression, and it affecte d women two times more compared to men. Depression is likely to become one of the major health problems in coming years. The health status of women has been neglected throughout history, hence a sharper focus on it was essential. The Conference on Women's Health organised by the National Council for International Health in 1991 (Desjarlais, 1995) recommended the following:


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens


Establish standards for women's health and well-being and measure progress towards those standards


Develop ways to monitor the impact of structural adjustment programmes to mitigate their adverse effects


Enact or enforce legislation to improve women's status Address women's need for equitable employment and economic

development V Expand education for women and girls. In addition to these measures, there is need to improve the psychological well -being of men and to reduce rates of their alcohol abuse, violence and suicide which will indirectly meet the needs of their wives and children.) -The key factor in healthy ageing is the ability to maintain independent living for as long as possible. Quality of life of older persons can be improved by enabling them to remain independent and productive through efficient use of health and social service. The phenomenon of large agein g population became one of the most dramatic and influential developments in the 20 th century. This situation has profound significance for the society in both the ³developed´ and the ³developing´ nations. As per the 1990 world population data sheet publis hed by the Washington Population Reference Bureau, the estimated population of the world was 5.3 billion. Of this, about six percent population could be classified as elderly, that is, those who ere 65 year old and above. This means that according to the United Nations¶ definition of old the population of the world is at the threshold of entering the old population category. There is, however, a wide difference in the proportion of the elderly populations to the total populations in the developing nations. In the developed countries the elderly comprise about twelve to eighteen percent of the total population, whereas, in the developing nations they constitute only six to nine percent. The phenomena

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

of ageing, therefore, has different implications in the dev eloped and the developing nations. Detailed study of the changes in the demographic and socio-economic scenario will enable one to perceive better the problems of the aged in a developing country like India.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Economic Status
The economic status of older persons perhaps is more varied than that of any other age group. Resources of the aged and their need patterns undergo a considerable change because of their diminished participation in productive and economically gainful work (Soodan, 1975;Khan, 1989). Re tirement has several economic, social, and psychological consequences for the individuals. it not only means loss of monthly salary, but also loss of work and loss of social relationships at work; For the middle and lower strata of salary earners who have no substantial savings or investments, loss of monthly salary would also mean the beginning of full or partial financial dependence on their children. In contemporary times, unabated inflationary trends have significantly added to the problems of the aged by eating into their savings and pensionary benefits. The plight of the aged in the unorganised sector is even worse. They have practically little or nothing to fall back upon. \A micro level study of 120 aged persons spread over 4 villages of the Anthiyur block in Dindigal district in Tamil Nadu revealed that in addition to health problems economic insecurity was the major set back. The study clearly brought out that due to absence of any economic security in old age the aged males especially the labour cla ss continued to work for earning their livelihood in spite of their physical inability and mental agony. The study also found high incidence of single member households among the rural aged women. This indicated distress and destitution. The respondents we re of the view that their children - sons/daughters should take care of them and strongly expressed their unwillingness to join the old age homes (Lalitha, 1999). There is little research available on economic dependency. It is felt that dependency burden may affect consumption patterns, capital investments, indebtedness, etc. In fact a whole range of life style may get adversely affected.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Social Security for Elderly in India

August 10, 2009 India

There is no plan of action for the right to life for the elderly in our democratic set-up. The lack of a separate department to focus on the issues of the aged and their problems seems to be a further insult to the idea of human rights. China¶s Department of human resources and social security issued an important announcement this week to the effect that farmers over the age of 60 would now enjoy a monthly pension according to the income standards of their respective areas. This insurance will comprise of two parts - one, basic insurance provided by State financing and two, personal pension account paid by farmers themselves. This would benefit China's 900 million farmers. This scheme will strengthen China's social security system in accordance with its National Human Rights Action Plan 2009-10. Now let us evaluate the structure of social security in India. The greatest tragedy in our country is that we do not have a separate department of social security. This very important subject has been subsumed under different ministries: ministry of agriculture and the ministry of social justice and empowerment. There is no plan of action for human right to life for the elderly in our democratic set up. The elderly population as per the 2001 census is 77 million which is estimated to rise to 177 million by 2025. Out of 77 million, two21

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens thirds live in rural areas and half of them in conditions of poverty . The population has gone up and the quality of life has deteriorated. In such a scenario, the lack of a separate department to focus on t he issues of the aged and their problems seems to be a mockery of human rights. Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution specifies that the State shall within the limits of economic capacity, provide for assistance to the elderly.

In India, the National Policy for Older Persons was launched in 1999 which provided for comprehensive support for financial security, health care, shelter, welfare and other needs of the elderly. It sought to provide protection against abuse and exploitation, make available opportunities for development of the potential of older persons by enlisting their participation and providing services to improve their quality of life. However, there was no specific classification of older persons who were farmers, working in the organised sector or living in rural areas.
In 2007, a Senior Citizens Act was enacted but it did not cover senior citizens in the agricultural sector. There is only one scheme namely the National Old Age Pension Scheme which provides a meagre Rs400 per pensioner per month (Rs4800 per annum) to all poor persons aged 65 years and above - an amount that is dwarfed by ever-increasing prices of essential commodities. The draft plan of action for farmers also refers to the above sc heme of social security for older farmers. But don't they deserve better treatment than this? The security service could be on a sharing basis between farmers and the government but it has to be worth more than the above envisaged amount if we think that t hey too have the right to a good quality of life.

We need to recognise the diversity in the lives of the aged in rural agricultural areas and other areas. This diversity requires diverse policy responses from the government. We need to focus on old age ru ral problems and come out with an effective social security scheme for Indian farmers aged 65 years and above.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Rights Of Senior Citizen : Need Of The Hour
By despising all that has preceded us, We teach others to despise our self

Growing Population:
The population of the elderly persons has been increasing over the years. As per the UNESCO estimates, the number of the aged(60+) is likely to 590 million in 2005. The figure will double by 2025. By 2025, the world will have more elderly than young people and cross two billion mark by 2050. In India also, the population of elder persons has increased form nearly 2 crores in 1951 to 7.2 crores in 2001. In other words about 8% of the total population is above 60 years. The figure will cross 18 % mark by 2025 .

Problems Of The Aged:
Problems of the aged as follows : (i) Economic problems, include such problems as loss of employment, income deficiency and economic insecurity. (ii) Physical and physiological problems, include health and medical problems, nutritional deficiency, and the problem of adequate housing etc. (iii) Psycho-social problem which cover problems related with their psychological and social maladjustment as well as the problem of elder abuse etc.

International Efforts:
The question of ageing was first debated at the United Nations in 1948 at the initiative of Argentina. The issue was again raised by Malta in 1969. In 1971 the General Assembly asked the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive report on the elderly and to suggest guideline for the national and international action. In 1978, Assembly decided to hold a World Conference on the Ageing. Accordingly, the World Assembly on Ageing was held in Vienna from July 26 to August 6, 1982 wherein an International Plan of Action on Ageing was adopted. The overall goal of the Plan was to strengthen the ability of individual countries to deal effectively with the ageing in their population, keeping in mind the special concerns and needs of the elderly. The Plan attempted to promote understanding of the social, economic and cultural implications of ageing and of related humanitarian and developed issues. The International Plan of Action on Ageing was adopted by the General Assembly in 1982 and the Assembly in subsequent years called on governments to continue to implement its principles and recommendations. The Assembly urged the Secretary -General to continue his efforts to ensure that follow-up action to the Plan is carried out effectively.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

(i) In 1992, the U.N.General Assembly adopted the proclamati on to observe the year 1999 as he International Year of the Older Persons. (ii) The U.N.General Assembly has declared ³Ist October´ as the International Day for the Elderly, later rechristened as the International Day of the Older Persons. (iii) The U.N.General Assembly on December 16, 1991 adopted 18 principles which are organized into 5 clusters, namely -independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment, and dignity of the older persons. These principles provide a broad framework for action on ageing. So me of the Principles are as follows : (i) Older Persons should have the opportunity to work and determine when to leave the work force. (ii) Older Persons should remain integrated in society and participate actively in the formulation of policies which effect their well-being. (iii) Older Persons should have access to health care to help them maintain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well -being. (iv) Older Persons should be able to pursue opportunities for the full development of their potential and have access to educational, cultural, spiritual and recreational resources of society. (v) Older Persons should be able to live in dignity and security and should be free from exploitation and mental and physical abuse.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

National Efforts:
(I) Constitutional Protection: Art. 41 : Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases : The State shall, within the limits of economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

Art. 46 : Promotion of educational and economic interests of ««. and other weaker sections : The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people«..and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. However, these provision are included in the Chapter IV i.e., Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, as stated in Article 37, are not enforceable by any court of law. But Directive Principles impose positive obligations on the state, i.e., what it should do. The Directive Principles have been declared to be fundamental i n the governance of the country and the state has been placed under an obligation to apply them in making laws. The courts however cannot enforce a Directive Principle as it does not create any justiciable right in favour of any individual. It is most unfo rtunate that state has not made even a single Act which are directly related to the elderly persons.
(II) Legal Protections: Under Personal Laws: The moral duty to maintain parents is recognized by all people. However, so far as law is concerned, the posit ion and extent of such liability varies from community to community. (I) Hindus Laws: Amongst the Hindus, the obligation of sons to maintain their aged parents, who were not able to maintain themselves out of their own earning and property, was recognized even in early texts. And this obligation was not dependent upon, or in any way qualified, by a reference to the possession of family property. It was a personal legal obligation enforceable by the sovereign or the state. The statutory provision for maintenance of parents under Hindu personal law is contained in Sec 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. This Act is the first personal law statute in India, which imposes an obligation on the children to maintain their parents. As is evident from the wording of the section, the obligation to maintain parents is not confined to sons only, and daughters also have an equal duty towards parents. It is important to note that only those parents who are financially unable to maintain themselves from any s ource, are entitled to seek maintenance under this Act.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens (II) Muslim Law: Children have a duty to maintain their aged parents even under the Muslim law. According to Mulla : (a) Children in easy circumstances are bound to maintain their poor parents, although the latter may be able to earn something for themselves. (b) A son though in strained circumstances is bound to maintain his mother, if the mother is poor, though she may not be infirm. (c) A son, who though poor, is earning something, is bound to suppo rt his father who earns nothing. According to Tyabji, parents and grandparents in indigent circumstances are entitled, under Hanafi law, to maintenance from their children and grandchildren who have the means, even if they are able to earn their livelihoo d. Both sons and daughters have a duty to maintain their parents under the Muslim law. The obligation, however, is dependent on their having the means to do so. (III) Christian And Parsi Law: The Christians and Parsis have no personal laws providing for ma intenance for the parents. Parents who wish to seek maintenance have to apply under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. (III) Under The Code Of Criminal Procedure: Prior to 1973, there was no provision for maintenance of parents under the code. The Law Commission, however, was not in favour of making such provision. According to its report: The Cr.P.C is not the proper place for such a provision. There will be considerably difficulty in the amount of maintenance awarded to parents apportioning amongst the children in a summary proceeding of this type. It is desirable to leave this matter for adjudication by civil courts. The provision, however, was introduced for the first time in Sec. 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in 1973. It is also essenti al that the parent establishes that the other party has sufficient means and has neglected or refused to maintain his, i.e., the parent, who is unable to maintain himself. It is important to note that Cr.P.C 1973, is a secular law and governs persons belonging to all religions and communities. Daughters, including married daughters, also have a duty to maintain their parents. (IV) Governmental Protections: 1. The Government of India approved the National Policy for Older Persons on January 13, 1999 in order to accelerate welfare measures and empowering the elderly in ways beneficial for them. This policy included the following major steps : (i) Setting up of a pension fund for ensuring security for those persons who have been serving in the unorganized secto r,

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

(ii) Construction of old age homes and day care centers for every 3 -4 districts, (iii) Establishment of resource centers and re -employment bureaus for people above 60 years, (iv) Concessional rail/air fares for travel within and between cities, i.e.,30% discount in train and 50% in Indian Airlines. (v) Enacting legislation for ensuring compulsory geriatric care in all the public hospitals. 2. The Ministry of Justice and Empowerment has announced regarding the setting up of a National Council for Older Pe rson, called agewell Foundation. It will seek opinion of aged on measures to make life easier for them. 3. Attempts to sensitise school children to live and work with the elderly. Setting up of a round the clock help line and discouraging social ostracism of the older persons are being taken up. 4. The government policy encourages a prompt settlement of pension, provident fund (PF), gratuity, etc. in order to save the superannuated persons from any hardships. It also encourages to make the taxation policies elder sensitive. 5. The policy also accords high priority to their health care needs. 6. According to Sec.88-B, 88-D and 88-DDB of Income Tax Act there are discount in tax for the elderly persons. 7. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has also been providing several scheme for the benefit of aged persons, i.e.,Jeevan Dhara Yojana, Jeevan Akshay Yojana, Senior Citizen Unit Yojana, Medical Insurance Yojana. 8. Former Prime Minister A.B.Bajpai was also launch µAnnapurana Yojana¶ for the benefit of aged persons. Under this yojana unattended aged persons are being given 10 kg food for every month. 9. It is proposed to allot 10 percent of the houses constructed under government schemes for the urban and rural lower income segments to the older persons on easy loan. The policy mentions: The layout of the housing colonies will respond to the needs and life styles of the elderly so that there is no physical barriers to their mobility; they are allotted ground floor; and their social interaction with older society members exists. Despite all these attempts, there is need to impress upon the elderly about the need to adjust to the changing circumstances in life and try to live harmoniously with the younger generation as for as possible.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

It may be pointed out that recently the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that the benefits conferred on a Government employee, who is disabled during his/her service period, under Section 47 of Persons with Disabilities(equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act, 1995 cannot be confined only seven types of medical conditions defined as µdisability¶ in the Act. The seven medical conditions are blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impaired, locomotor disability, mental retardatio n and mental illness. A Division Bench comprising Justice F.M.Ibrahim and Justice K.Venkataraman said : ³We feel that the court cannot shut its eyes if a person knocks at its doors claiming relief under the Act. In a welfare State like India, the benefits of benevolent legislation cannot be denied on the ground of mere hyper technicalities. It may be noted that this Act is not directly related to aged person but seven medical conditions which prescribed in this Act are the common symptom of the aged person.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Need For A Change In Approach:
In the older times, after the completion of 50 years of life, one had to detach oneself from the responsibilities of a µGrihastha¶ and switch over to the third stage of human life which was known as µVanpristha¶ which referred to the devotion of the next 25 years of life by the µVanpristhi¶ by mana, vachana and karma to the selfless service of the suffering humanity and the larger society in return to the services received form society during the first 50 years of life. Certain strategies and approaches at different levels of policy making, planning and programming etc. will have to be adopted in order to harness this vast human resource for promoting the involvement and participation of senior citizens in socio-economic development process on a much larger scale. This participation must result in an end to their social isolation ad an increase in their general satisfaction with their life. Any attempt to secure the help of the elderly in offering their service to the nation must simultaneously ensure some sort of package of services aimed at arranging for them a better quality of life and a well-designed social security network for the senior citizen. The society and the state in India need to accept the challenge of their effectively focusing their attention on the following twin issues of : (i) How to provide a fair-deal to the senior citizens so that they are able to peacefully, constructively and satisfactorily pass their lives; and (ii) How to utilize the vast treasure of knowledge and rich life experience of the older people so that they are able to utilize their remaining energies and contribute to the all round development of their nation.

Palliative Care: Need of the hour: According to a pilot survey, 70% of
city¶s elderly population is undergoing some kind of medication. The average spending per day ranges between Rs. 3 to 200. However, nearly half of the money goes waste. The reason is absence of proper palliative care in the country. World Health Organization has marked October 7 as a day to create awareness about the importance and need for hospice and palliative care. ³Access to the best quality care, while facing terminal illness is a human right. Ironically, many people in the world are denied this right. The bitter side is that government in many countries does not even realize the important of this right´ said geriatric physician Dr. Abhishek Shukla.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007
THE ACT WILL be enforced by the State government concerned. The date on which the Act will come into force will be notified by the State government concerned in the Official Gazette. Under Clause 5(1) of the Bill, a senior citizen or a parent may apply for maintenance under Clause 4 of the bill. (A senior citizen is an Indian citizen who is at least 60 years old. A parent could be father or mother, whether biological, adoptive or step father or step mother, whether or not the father o r the mother is a senior citizen). If the senior citizen or parent is incapable, any other person or a voluntary organization authorized by the senior citizen or parent can apply for maintenance on their behalf. The Tribunal may take cognizance suo motu (that is, it can act on its own cognizance). These two provisions are welcome since most senior citizens or parents do not have the energy (they do not have the money anyway) to apply for maintenance. The said Tribunal may, when a proceeding regarding monthl y allowance for the maintenance under this section is pending, order such children or relative to pay a monthly allowance for the interim maintenance of the senior citizen including parent. The State government is required to constitute within a period of 6 months from the date of commencement of the law (Act), Tribunals for the purpose of adjudicating and deciding upon the order for maintenance under Clause 5. According to Clause 4(1), the senior citizen including parent is entitled to apply for maintenance under Clause 5 if he is unable to maintain himself from his own earnings or out of the property owned by him. A parent or grand -parent can make an application for maintenance against one or more of his children who are majors (µchildren¶ includes son, da ughter, grandson and grand-daughter). The obligation of the children to maintain his or her parent extends to the needs of such parent either father or mother or both, as the case may be, so that such parent may lead a normal life. A childless senior citiz en, on the other hand, can make an application against his relative ("relative" means any legal heir of the childless senior citizen who is a major and is in possession of or would inherit the property after the childless senior citizen¶s death; property m eans property of any kind, whether movable or immovable, ancestral or self -acquired, tangible or intangible and includes rights or interests in such property). Thus Clause 4 makes a reference to grand -parent while Clause 5 does not. In other words, Clause 5 is silent about how the application for maintenance should be made by a grand-parent (who is not yet 60) under Clause 4. I wish the learned law-makers took notice of this inconsistency lest vested interests should exploit this well-intended provision.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

If the senior citizen has transferred by way of gift or otherwise, his property, subject to the condition that the relative shall provide the basic amenities and basic physical needs to the senior citizen and such relative refuses or fails to provide such amenities and physical needs, Clause 23 (1) says the said transfer of property shall be declared void by the Tribunal, if the senior citizen so desires. This is a welcome provision since it protects naïve senior citizens from exploitation by relatives who intend to renege on their promise subsequently. The State government is also required to prescribe a comprehensive action plan for protecting the life and property of senior citizens. This is also a welcome provision since the vulnerable senior citizen can be easily harmed or hurt. In fact the senior citizen may be even carted away somewhere to ensure that none else including the voluntary organization and the Tribunal come to know of their whereabouts. Fortunately Clause 24 of the Bill takes care of this as pect. According to this Clause, µWhoever, having the care or protection of senior citizen leaves, such senior citizen in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning such senior citizen, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months or fine which may extend to five thousands rupees or with both¶. I suggest registration of senior citizens with the jurisdictional police station be mandated. The NGO concerned may be requested to visit senior citize ns at least every quarter under intimation to the jurisdictional police station. Obviously, the Bill, in its present form, will meet the needs of only parents and senior citizens from educated families, propertied classes and the urban areas. It cannot cater to the needs of parents and senior citizens belonging to the poorer sections of society or hailing from villages. One may find three generations living in the same village and at times even under the same roof! If the son is also indigent, how can he ma intain his parent and grand parent? How would the Tribunal adjudicate such disputes? The son will be only too happy if he is put behind bars because he is at least assured of two square meals a day! Understandably, given its limited resources, one cannot e xpect the government to do a thorough job here. But it can at least ameliorate the situation. How? It should allow income tax sops to those who take care of parents / grand -parents / senior citizens. This is only fair because if tax is collected from citiz ens, they should be provided social security by the government when they grow old. When the government is not able to provide social security, it should at least encourage the citizens to provide it by allowing income tax sops. After all, a citizen taking care of his aged parents or senior citizens is providing them social security which strictly speaking the government should have provided. Our government taxes individuals a la the US government but unlike the US government does not provide social security to all citizens. I have pointed out

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

this anomaly in my article, ³Why Tirupur has raced ahead of Ludhiana?´ dated, Nov 20, 2007. All that the government has to do is rob Peter and pay Paul. It is also unfortunate that the government has not made any seriou s attempt to cover the senior citizens under ³Group Health Insurance Scheme´. It believes that insurance coverage is mostly required in critical illness and at places where adequately-equipped hospitals are not available (!). Well, for a start, let the government convince me that AIIMS, New Delhi, is adequately equipped to treat indigent senior citizens. The Bill does not cover old age pension perhaps because State governments are implementing the Old Age Pension Scheme. But the amount of pension and the eligibility criteria are not uniform across the States, under the said Scheme. The Bill should have mandated the State governments to pay old age pension to the senior citizens adequately and uniformly across the country. This should not be difficult because all that the government has to do is rob Peter and pay Paul. It has to deny income tax sops to those who do not maintain parents / grand parents / relatives; it has to deny old age pension to those parents / grand parents / relatives who are being maintai ned by their children / relatives. Lastly, the government, while drafting Bills, uses the word µmay¶ (instead of the word µshall¶) even where provisions of a mandatory nature are involved. What leads to this howler? Is it ignorance or lack of conviction on the part of the government?
Note: Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar tabled the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill proposes to make it obligatory on the persons who inherit t he property of their aged relatives to maintain them. It also aims to make provisions for setting up old age homes to take care of indigent older persons. It aims to set up an appropriate mechanism for need -based maintenance to parents and senior citizens, better medical facilities and old age homes in every district. It seeks for institutionalisation of a suitable mechanism for the protection of the life and property of older persons. Describing ageing as a major challenge and the need to give more attenti on to the care and protection of the older person, the statement of objects and reasons said many older persons, particularly widowed women, are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and face emotional neglect and lack physical and financial s upport. Though the parents can claim maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the procedure is both time-consuming as well as expensive. Hence, there is need to have simple, inexpensive and speedy provisions to claim maintenance, the statement said.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

A critique of the Maintenance of Parents Bill 2007
On May 8, 2007, the Indian Express carried a critique of the UPA government's Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March. M. R. Madhavan, who works with the PRS Legislative Research at the Centre for Policy Research focuses on larger policy problems with the Bill, while also zeroing in on specific provisions that arouse his concern: "The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Se nior Citizens Bill, 2007, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in March, aims ³to provide for more effective provisions for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens guaranteed and recognised under the Constitution and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.´ While it is difficult to contest the objective of ensuring a comfortable life for senior citizens, a number of provisions in the Bill may not be easy to implement. The Bill neatly sidesteps the directive in the Constitution (Article 41), which directs the state to provide public assistance in cases of old age. The Bill does state that, ³The state government may establish and maintain such number of old age homes at accessible places, as it may deem necessary, in a phased manner, beginning with at least one in each district to accommodate in such homes a minimum of one hundred fifty senior citizens who are indigent´. Note the use of ³may´ instead of ³shall´ ² there is no obligation on the state governments to establish these. Even without this clause, there was never any prohibition on them from providing old age homes. Also, one wonders why a Bill should specify details such as the minimum size of an old age home. Instead, the Bill places the obligation of maintaining a senior citizen on his or her children, grandchildren or any legal heirs. The process and amount differs from the existing provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Section 125), under which a first class magistrate may order a person to provide a monthly maintenance to his parents (or wife, including divorced wife or children), limited to Rs 500. The Bill provides that the children of a senior citizen have the obligation to maintain a senior citizen to the extent that he ³may lead a normal life´. In case of a childless senior citizen, the obligation is on a relative who is in possession of the senior citizen¶s property or who would inherit his property. The maximum monthly allowance is to be specified by state governments, subject to a limit of Rs 10,000. Some of the definitions in the Bill are confusing. Senior citizens are defined as ³any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

above and includes parent whether or not a senior citizen´. This implies that every parent, including those below sixty years of age, would be considered a ³senior citizen´. Relative ³means any legal heir of the childless senior citizen who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his property after his death.´ How does one determine who would inherit the property? Does this mean that the senior citizen has to reveal the contents of his will, and does not have the freedom to change it later? If he is allowed to change his will, consider the case of the person who is initially named in the will, forced to provide a maintenance, and who finds on the death of the senior citizen that there is another will that disinherits him.

So what does a senior citizen do if he wants maintenance? He
applies to the µMaintenance Tribunal¶. The application may also be made by any other person or organisation authorized by him. However, the Bill clarifies that such an ³organisation´ means ³any voluntary organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or any other law for the time being in fo rce´. It seems to ignore the fact that the Societies Registration Act does not define ³voluntary organisation´. One might be tempted to believe that the purpose of permitting such organisations is to assist a senior citizen. However, the Bill makes it cle ar that ³no party to a proceeding before a tribunal or appellate tribunal shall be represented by a legal practitioner´. That is, one may not use the services of a legally qualified person in obtaining one¶s legal entitlements under this law. Regarding the maintenance tribunal, the Bill states that ³the state government may... constitute for each sub-division one or more tribunals... The tribunal shall be presided over by an officer not below the rank of sub -divisional officer of a state´. There are two points to note here. First, the use of ³may´, leaving the state governments the option of not forming such tribunals. Second, the job is entrusted to the SDO, who has a number of other responsibilities. To conclude, one is not arguing against the idea of prov iding a safety net for senior citizens. The point is that any law that provides for such a net should be implement able. Other than the various loopholes discussed, the big issue is whether parents would take their children to the tribunal, given various s ocial pressures. A better approach may be to design a social security system, including financial products such as pension schemes and reverse mortgages that enable the elderly to live a dignified life." This is a powerful critique of the Bill, which is scheduled to be debated during the current session of Parliament. To my mind, there is only one existing precedent for such a law, which is the Singaporean Maintenance of Parents Act. Significantly, that law is backed by governmental programmes of pension,

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

healthcare and other forms of support for the elderly, which adds weight to Madhavan's core argument. Hopefully, these issues will be aired during the Parliamentary debates on this law. Anonymous said... This bill has provisions where the chances of misuse are greater than beneficial use. What if a particular heir or children live out side India or other than the place where the Senior citizen resides? Will that give the Senior citizen a right to live with the heir/children? Will the order of Magistrate be i mplantable in a foreign jurisdiction to bring him back to fulfill his obligations? What if the senior citizen is the cause of discord, will that still be the reason to keep that person with him/her? What happens to parents with daughters only and no son? Will the law make it compulsory even for the son -in-law to take care of the senior citizen? How many such senior citizen one shall be responsible to take care of? The law is designed simply to avoid the State's responsibility to provide a better social security system for its citizen and putting the onus on the citizen for such responsibility while the State and its guardians -the executives and legislators wish away the hard earned tax payers money in such wishful bills and squander the same on their own security.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES ON POPULATION AGEING: INDIAN PERSPECTIVE Director, National Institute of Social Defence, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.
Since the traditional norms and values of the Indian society laid str ess on respect and care for the aged, the aged member of the family were normally taken care of in the family itself. In recent times the rapid socio -economic transformation has affected every aspect of traditional Indian society. Industrialization with resultant urbanization and migration of population has affected institutions like the age old joint family. Technological advancement, impact of mass media and higher degree of mobility have influenced long established life styles, conventional value systems and customary place of aged and women in the society. Thus, the society is witnessing a gradual but definite withering of the joint family system as a result of which a section of the family, primarily the elder, are exposed to somewhat emotional neglect and a lack of physical support. As a result of demographic changes and the changing family context, it can no longer be assumed that the older persons live comfortably at home receiving care from family members. Given the trend of population ageing in India, the older persons face a number of problems ranging from absence of ensured and sufficient income to support themselves and their dependants, to ill -health, to absence of social security, to loss of a productive social role and recognition, to non-availability of opportunities for creative use of free time. The trend clearly reveals that ageing poses a major challenge, and vast resources are required towards the support, care and treatment of the older person. There is an emerging need to pay greater attention to ageing issues and to promote holistic policies and programmes for dealing with an ageing society. Care of older persons is a growing concern of every individual and social security of the elderly is one of the prime responsibilities of the St ate.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

As per Census 2001, the number of older persons in 2001 was 70.6 million (6.9%) which was projected to be 83.5 million in 2006 (7.5%). As per the projections the percentage of older persons will be 94.8 million in 2011 (8.3%), 118 million in 2016, (9.3%) 143.7 million in 2021(10.7%) and 173.1 million in 2026 (12.4%). The growth of population of the older persons shows upward trend. The gender position of the elderly reveals that the life expectancy of women is expected to remain higher. For the period 2006 -2010 the life expectancy of female is 68.1 against 65.8 of males which will rise to 72.3 for female against 69.02 for males during the period 2011 -2016. This indicates that the population of elderly women will account for a larger chunk compared to their male counterpart in 60+ age bracket. In absolute terms, the projection for male population in 60 + age group was 35 million in 2001, projected to be 40.7 million in 2006 and 48 million in 2011 as against the female popul ation in same age group was 36 million in 2001, 42 million in 2006 and 50.2 million in 2011. From the projected figures for the year 2006 -2011 and 2016, 2021 and 2026, it is also clear that percentage of female population in 70 + age group will outnumber their male counterpart in the same age group. This accounts for a larger female population in the overall 60 + age group compared to the male population in the years to come. Many of women in the 70 + age group would be either widow or single without any ostensible support for themselves. A comparison of rural elderly and the urban establish the fact that around 74.97 per cent of older persons live in rural areas and 25.02 in urban areas. This involves planning for post retirement socio-economic security through continued skill up-gradation, employment and participation in other creative and gainful activities. With the changing lifestyle of modern society the young generation are migrating from not only rural to urban area rather one country to another as well; leading to increase in old age dependency ratio. The old age dependency ratio (number of old persons 60+ years) to the working age group (15 -59 years) has increased from 9.8 per cent in 1981 toabout 12.6 per cent by the year 2001. (Census of India,2001)


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

The increase in life expectancy with better health care, nutritious food and socioeconomic status, has led to the demographic transition which impacts the prosperity and health of the people. This necessitate s old age specific health management to address the age -linked health problems like cataract related blindness, osteoarthritis, hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, Alzheimer¶s disease and other dementias, Parkinson¶s dise ase osteoporosis, and fractures, cancer, enlarged prostate and depression, etc. The needs of older persons living in rural areas that accounts for about 62.5 million of them, require special attention. The Government is concerned to provide the rural elderly access to health system, socio-economic security, the institutional care and homes for the destitute.

Government of India announced the National Policy on Older Persons in 1999 to reaffirm its commitment to ensure the well-being of the older persons in a holistic manner. Reiterating the mandate enshrined in Article 41 of the Constitution of India, the Policy has brought the concern for older persons on top of the National Agenda. The NPOP while promising to saf eguard their interest in terms of financial security, health, legal, social and psychological security, also envisages a productive partnership with them in the process of development by creating opportunities for their gainful engagement and employment. The Policy also appreciates special needs of older persons and therefore lays emphasis on empowerment of community as well as individuals to adequately meet the challenges of the process of ageing. The NPOP broadly provides for the following to fulfill these objectives:
Financial security through coverage under Old Age Pension Scheme for poor and destitute older persons, better returns on earnings/savings of Government/Quasi- Government employees¶ savings in Provident Fund, etc., creating opportunities for continued education/skill up -gradation ensuring thereby continued employment/selfemployment and income generation and provision for Pension Scheme for selfemployed, employees of the non -formal, and non-governmental sector. Health Security : The NPOP recognizes special health needs of the older persons to be met through strengthening and reorienting the public health services at Primary Health Care level, creation of health facilities through non profit organization like trust/charity, etc., and implementing health insurance.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens Recognizing Shelter as basic human need , the NPOP provides for earmarking 10 percent of the houses/housing sites in urban as well as rural areas for older persons belonging to the lower income groups, special consideration to the older persons falling in the category of Below Poverty Line (BPL) and destitute in housing schemes like Indira Awas Yojana, loans at reasonable interest rates and easy repayment installments with tax relief for p urchase of houses etc. Education/information needs of older persons too have got adequately reflected in the National Policy. Education/information material relevant to the lives of older persons should be developed and made available through mass media. Education, training and information being the important human requirement, the NPOP provides for proactive role in ensuring the same by disseminating knowledge about preparation of Old Age. It is also emphasized for schools to have programme on inter -generational bonding.

Welfare and Institutional Care: Institutional Care has been provided
for in the NPOP as the last resort . The care in non-institutional set up i.e. within family and the community needs to be strengthened and encouraged. This apart, the State should also create infrastructure in partnership with voluntary organizations to provide for poor, destitute and neglected older persons whose care cannot be ensured within the family. This is to be ensured through Old Age Homes and other such institut ional facilities that would be needed. Voluntary efforts needs to be encouraged for creating facilities for day care, outreach services, multi -service citizen centres, etc.

Protection of Life and Property of Older Persons: The State has to
gear up security network to save older persons from criminal offence and police is required to keep friendly vigil. Early settlement of property/inheritance disputes is to be done, safeguards to protect them from fraudulent dealings in transfer of property through sale/¶Will¶ are to be put in place and free legal aid and toll free helpline services are to be placed across the country. Maintenance of elderly within family resorting to the provisions of law viz. Criminal Procedure Code, (Cr.P.C.) 1973, Hindu Adoption and Ma intenance Act. (HAMA) 1956 etc., whenever needed is required to be ensured.

Training of Human Resource to care for Older Persons: The Policy
lays emphasis on need for trained personnel/care givers. This envisages the training of human resource in the area s like specialization in Geriatrics in medical courses, special courses on Geriatric Care in nursing training, training of social workers specially for geriatric care and professional caregivers.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens Media: The Policy enjoins upon media to take up a special r esponsibility for the care of older persons. Media is to play a role in identifying emerging issues and areas of action, dispelling stereo -types and negative images about the old age, maintaining restraint from creating fear psychosis by responsible report ing, promoting intergenerational bonds and informing individuals/families/groups with appropriate information on ageing process


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

AVAILABLE SUPPORT SERVICES National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
The National Social Assistance Programme came into effect from 15th August, 1995. NSAP is a social assistance programme for the poor households and represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the Directive Principles enshrined in Article 41 and 42 of the Constitution of India, recognizing concurrent responsibility of the Central and State Governments in the matter.

The National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS)
The Scheme covers older persons/destitutes having little or no regular means of subsistence from his/her own source of income or through financial support from family members or other sources. The age of applicant must be 65 years or above. At present 50% of the older persons under Below Poverty Line (BPL) destitutes are covered under NOAPS. The Central Government contributes Rs.200/- per month per beneficiary. The State (Provincial) Governments are advised to add matching amount or more as their contribution in the federal set-up. During the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002 ± 07) a total of 110,793,860 elderly were covered and US $ 1002.20 millio n approximately was incurred on this count.

Annapurna Scheme
Annapurna Scheme covers all the other elderly below poverty line who are not covered under the NOAPS. A provision of 10 of rice or wheat is provided to the needy elderly. Under the scheme US $ 56 million was incurred and 43,03,491 elderly were covered in tenth plan (2002 -07)

Concessions/Tax Rebate/Other Incentives
Presently persons of 60 years of age are entitled for 30% concessions in train fare in all classes. There are different airline s providing 45% to 50% concession in air journey to senior citizens. Older persons who are above 65 years of age also enjoy income tax rebate upto 15,000 of actual tax with provision for deduction of Rs.20,000 spent on account of medical insurance premium and Rs.40,000 spent on account of medical treatment from taxable income. Senior citizens are exempted from Income Tax upto 1.95 lakh as per the union Annual Budget, 2007. Banks are providing 0.5% -1% additional interest to older persons of 65 years and above on fixed deposit. The public facilities for the elderly are initiated by the Government which include reservation of seats for elderly in the public transport, railways and airways etc.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Insurance Coverage
Some of the public sector insurance companies provide life insurance coverage upto 75 years of age and many private insurance companies have 55 years as the last entry age. The Insurance Policy Schemes announced for older persons include Jeevan Dhara (18-65 years), Jeevan Akshay (30-75 years), Jeevan Suraksha (25-60 years), Senior Citizen Unit Plan (18-54 years). In addition, Health Insurance Schemes covering Mediclaim Policy and other individual and Group Mediclaim Policies are also offered by Nationalized as well as private insurance companies. The government is taking steps to enforce a uniform policy on all Insurance Companies as regards entry age of Senior Citizens. The government has launched a Reverse Mortgage System for senior citizens to extract value out of their property and lead a hassle fre e life by securing a regular income as loan against their existing property.

Integrated Programmes for Older Persons
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India is implementing an Integrated Programme for Older Persons with an aim to empower and improve the quality of life of older persons. The basic thrust of the programme is on older persons of 60 years and above particularly the infirm, destitute and widows. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to Non-Governmental Organizations, Autonomous Bodies, Educational Institutions, Cooperative Societies, etc., up to 90 per cent of the project cost for setting up and maintenance of Day Care Centres, Mobile Medi -care Units, Old Age Homes and Non-Institutional Service Centres. During the Tenth Five Year plan, Ministry provided financial assistance to voluntary organizations to the tune of US $ 18.6 million.

Construction of Old Age Homes
The scheme for Assistance to construction of Old Age Homes provides one time grant to Local Bodies, NGOs etc. for construction of Old Age Homes or Multi Service Centres for older persons. The Ministry also incurred an expenditure of US $ 70,000 for construction of Old Age Homes during Tenth FiveYear Plan.

Health Security
Growing old is also marked by failing health and advancing age may bring with it enumberable health complications. Restricted physical mobility coupled with crippled health makes it difficult for older persons to access the health facilities if they do not enjoy the support of the famil y or have a care institution within their easy access. Realizing the real situation wherein the older persons live, Para 36 of the National Policy envisagescovering of health insurance and financial security towards essential medical care and affordable t reatment

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

process. Some of the initiatives by the Government is enabling a separate counters/O.P.D. in hospitals and free medical services in Central Government Health Scheme, Government Hospitals to facilitate easy accessibility to the elderly including Geriatric Units in the Hospitals.

Care of Alzheimer¶s Disease and other Dementias
Dementia due to Alzheimer¶s disease and other causes is one of the most serious degenerative diseases that affects the older persons. The loss of memory with advancing age is a common phenomenon. However, dementia, which is a progressive disease of the brain, affects memory, personality and intellect. Of all the dementia, Alzheimer¶s disease is the commonest and the severest. Many of the Government and public hospitals have started Memory Clinics, Mental Health Programmes to facilitate proper diagnosis of Dementia to enable slowing down the process and preparing the care -givers and the family to manage Alzheimer¶s and Dementia Care . The National Institute of Social Defence under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has initiated training of care-givers and functionaries as a special initiative on the centenary of Alzheimer¶s .


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

The older persons become soft target for miscreants within and outside family. Disputes relating to maintenance and property and inheritance adds to their vulnerability. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure the safety and well -being of Older Persons through creation of necessary infr astructure and legal provisions. It is felt that it is high time to back the moral obligation of children to look after their parents in their old age by a legal obligation. India is moving ahead to safeguard and protect the Best Interest of Older Persons through Central Legislation, which is on the anvil, by ‡ Ensuring Care and Protection of Older Persons within the family ‡ Ensuring early settlement of maintenance claim through a Tribunal ‡ Prevention of destitution by enough Institutional facilities ‡ Provision for Old Age Homes covering all the districts to ensure that facility to accommodate 150 needy elderly in each of them.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Helpline Services for Older Persons
The State Governments. and Office of the Commissioner of Police in collaboration with NGOs have initiated special protective measures for safeguarding the elderly and one such innovative approach is ³Helpline Services´ in some big cities.
S.No. Deptt/NGOs Helpline

1. Delhi Police - 1291 - 1091 - 100 2. Agewell Foundation, New Delhi 00-91-11-29830484 00-91-11-29836486 3. Nightingales Medical Trust & City Police, Bangalore - 1090 4. Dignity Foundation Delhi Chapter Mumbai Chapter Chennai Chapter Jamshedpur Chapter Kolkata Chapter 91-11-29534745 91-22-23898078 91-44-26473165 91-657-2268307 91-33-24741314


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Training & Human Resource Development for Home Care
In the changing family context, role of professionally trained home carers become very crucial. Therefore, preparing a frontline cadre of care givers to ens ure quality care at home as well as in the institutions is one of the important strategies. In the wake of disintegration of Joint Family System, it is ensured that professionally trained carers are available to meet the demand. In order to meet this objec tive, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched the Project µNICE¶ (National Initiative on Care for Elderly) through National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) an autonomous body of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in 2000. The NISD or ganizes one year P.G. Diploma Course and Six Month Certificate Courses under Project NICE to meet the demand for care givers. In addition, Short Terms Courses varying from 5 days to One Month are also organized for skill upgradation of Service Providers wo rking in Old Age Homes, etc. In the X Five year plan, NISD as so far organised 85 training programme and 2535 care givers and service providers were trained

³[There is a] foundational connection between information and social obligation, since the moral ± and of course the political ± need to pay attention to others depends greatly on our knowledge and information about them«. More information in itself goes a long way to breaking that chain of apathy and indifference.´ - Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate To foster active and productive ageing NISD has initiated a novel programme for the older people. It aims at imparting computer training to the elderly people. The success of a few trainings conducted earlier had left no doubt that older people not only love to learn at the µripe age¶ but benefit from it. This programme is launched with a view to help Older Persons dispel their inhibitions to adopt to new technology and take advantage of IT enabled services like e-Ticketing, e-Banking, e-Business etc. By demonstrating that elders can use computers comfortably. We are countering the stereotypical mind-set and attitude on the one hand and instill confidence among elderly on the other. This is bound to go a long way in bringing a neglected segment of popul ation in µdigital mainstream.¶


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Single Window System
Facilities to disseminate information on various concessions/reservations/rebates provided to senior citizens by different Ministries of the Government of India is placed on the website of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. NISD has also taken such initiatives by developing a User Friendly Document on Geriatric Care. Which is available on The information is also disseminated to the elderly through Helpline Services. Some of the NGOs such as Helpage India have also brought out Senior Citizens Guide.

Voluntary Bureau of Elderly
Volunteers Bureau of Elderly is a network of elderly who could be available for different kinds of services on demand. The International Longevity Centre, Pune an NGO working for welfare of elderly has successfully used this concept over the years for gainful engagement of elderly post -retirement. The NISD in collaboration with them organized Workshops to showcase the successful models of Government and NGO interventions including the volunteers Bureau for winder replication and laying thrust on the concept of volunteerism, inter generational bonding and successful experiences sharing.

Inter-Generational Bonding
Bridging the intergenerational gap is another innovative project has been pilot tested by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment The programme would be carried out for school children by creating awareness and sensitizing them on the issue.

Innovative public training
Creating broader awareness of the issues, available services, rights and redressal mechanisms are an important means to create an elderly friendly environment. NISD has taken it up in a serious manner and had developed a number of video spots to be aired on popular TV channels. It has developed an innovative µdo -ityourself¶ publicity material like an interesting cataract awareness µwall hanging¶. In addition, there are other useful publications and exhibits giving latest information about schemes, concessions, rights and available services for the elderly people.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

There are a number of specialized NGOs coming up to join hands with the efforts of the government towards creating an elderly friendly environment in the country. The Senior Citizen Forums and Welfare Associations have been formed by the elderly themselves in various localities in Delhi. Senior Citizens Council, New Delhi has more than 500 members from all walks of life. They assemble at a Public Park everyday for an hour in the morning to attend religious discourses. The other activities of the Forum includes yoga, free health checkup camps, special care of senior citizens who were living alone Helpage India is dedicated to the service of elderly through various programmes. In one of the major initiatives in the State of Gujarat it has got 63 Self Help Groups formed consisting of an overall 1000 elderly women. Servants of People Society at Chandigarh, a national level NGO, is working for the cause of elderly and stresses upon the value systems of our tradition.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Policies that facilitate the elderly National policy on older persons
The Government of India announced a National Policy on Older Persons in January, 1999. This policy provides a broad framework for inter -sectoral collaboration and cooperation both within the government as well as between government and non-governmental agencies. In particular, the policy has identified a number of areas of intervention -- financial security, healthcare and nutrition, shelter, education, welfare, protection of life and property etc. for the well being of older persons in the country. Amongst others the policy also recognizes the role of the NGO sector in providing user friendly affordable services to complement the endeavours of the State in this direction. While recognizing the need for promoting productive ageing, the policy also emphasizes the importance of family in providing vital non formal social security for older persons. To facilitate implementation of the policy, the participation of Panchayati Raj Institutions, State Governments and different Departments of the Government of India is envisaged with coordinating responsibility resting with the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

National Council for Older Persons
A National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) has been constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to operationalise the National Policy on Older Persons. The basic objectives of the NCOP are to
y y

y y y y y y y

Advice the Government on policies and programmes for older persons Provide feedback to the Government on the implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons as well as on specific programme initiatives for older persons Advocate the best interests of older persons Provide a nodal point at the national level for redressing the grievances of older persons which are of an individual nature Provide lobby for concessions, rebates and discounts for older persons both with the Government as well as with the corporate sector Represent the collective opinion of older persons to the Government Suggest steps to make old age productive and interesting Suggest measures to enhance the quality of inter -generational relationships. Undertake any other work or activity in the best interest of older persons.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

There are 39 members in the council. A seven -member working group has also been constituted from amongst the members of NCOP. The Working Group has so far held two meetings to discuss ways and means to achieve its objectives.

Old age and income security
The Ministry has also launched a project called "Old Age Social and Income Security (OASIS)". An Expert Committee is constituted under the project. The first reports of the Committee and the existing income security instruments available to older persons have been comprehensively examined. The report also contains detailed recommendations for enhancing the coverage, improving the rate of returns and for bringing about a qualitative improvement in the customer service of Public Provident Fund, the Employees Provident Fund, the Annuity Plans of LIC, and UTI etc. The recommendations of the Committee are being examined by the Ministry of Finance for further action. Meanwhile, Phase II of the project is looking at the pension and gratuity schemes of the central government and old age pension provided under National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). At the core of the second phase of project OASIS, however, lies the designing of a new, fully funded, contributory pension programme for the balance (uncovered) workersincluding casual/contract workers, self-employed, farmers etc.

Revision of the schemes of the Ministry
In order to facilitate implementation of the National Policy, and to bring about a qualitative improvement in the programme intervention of the Minis try, both the on-going schemes were revised during 1998-99.
Scheme of assistance to Panchayati Raj Institutions/Voluntary Organizations/Self Help Groups for construction of old age homes/multi service centres for older persons. The scheme has been revised to enhance the one time construction grant for old age homes/multi service centres from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 30 lakh to eligible organizations.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

An integrated programme for older persons has been formulated by
revising the earlier scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for programmes relating to the welfare of the aged. With the aim to empower and improve the quality of older persons, the programmes hope to:
y y y y y y y y

Reinforce and strengthen the ability and commitment of the family to provide care to older persons. Foster amiable multi-generational relationships. Generate greater awareness on issues pertaining to older persons and enhanced measures to address these issues. Popularize the concept of Life Long Preparation for Old Age at the individual level as well as at the societal level. Facilitate productive ageing. Promote healthcare, Housing and Income Security needs of older persons. Provide care to the destitute elderly. Strengthen capabilities on issues pertaining to older persons of local bodies/state governments, NGOs and academic/research and other institutions.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

The United Nations General Assembly in1990 designated October 5, as the International Day of Older Persons. In the 1991 the United Nations General Assembly adopted at its 46 th session the UN Principles for older persons and agreed on a set of principles, which stated among other things, that older persons should have the following:
1. Access to adequate food, water, shelter, and clothing; social and legal services and health care through the provision of income, self help, family and community support. Opportunity to work and have access to training and participation in deciding when and at what pace they will retire. Environments that are safe and adaptable to changing capacities. Involvement in the formulation and implementation of policies affecting their well being. Opportunity and scope to share their knowledge with younger generations. Opportunity to work as volunteers in community service according to their skills and interests, and consider forming associations of the aged. Have access to appropriate institutional care with dignity, privacy, and right to make decisions about their care. Live in dignity and security, free from exploitation, physical and/or mental abuse and to be treated fairly regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity, disability, or economic status.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Government of India has earmarked special benefits and concessions for Senior Citizens of India. Here is a brief compilation of same for your ready reference :
(1) Court

cases involving senior citizens

The Chief Justice of India has advised Chief Justices of all High Courts to accord priority to cases involving older persons and ensure their expeditious disposal. [vide letter of Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (SD Section), New Delhi, F. No. 20-76/99-SD dated 03.11.1999]

(2) RTI Act (Right to Information Act)
Second appeals filed by senior citizens and differently abled persons under the Right to Information Act (RTI) are taken on a high priority basis, according to a directive of the Central Information Commission (CIC). For, senior citizens and physically challenged if appeals are already pending with the CIC/SCIC, they should write to the CIC/SCIC about their status.

(3) Health Care
(a) There is provision for separate queues for senior citizens at hospitals and health care centres when they visit for any health related concerns or clinical examinations. (b) The Delhi Government runs special clinics for Senior Citizens in most of its hospitals in Delhi.

(4) Finance & Taxation
(a) You are advised to refer to the Indian Income Tax Department for the current slabs of Income Tax including rebate admissible to senior citizens. As per recent finance budget 2008-09 (presented on 29th February, 2008) the threshold income when you start paying tax stands at Rs. 2.25 lakh per annum for senior citizens. In this case the qualifying age as specified by Income Tax Department is 65 years. (b) The benefit of Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 has been extended to the investments made under 5-Year Post Office Time Deposits Account and Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, with effect from 01.04.2007.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

(5) Banking
(a) Government also gives a higher rate of interest to senior citizens on certain Savings schemes which it runs through its large network of Post Offices (Senior Citizens Savings Scheme) and Public sector Banks. For further details you are advised to contact your nearest Bank or local Post Office. (b) Some banks like State Bank of India charge only 50% of the applicable prescribed charges in respect of following services: i) Issue of duplicate passbook/statement of account ii) Issue of cheque books, iii) Noting of standing instructions, iv) Stop payment instructions, v) Charges of non maintenance of minimum balance, vi) Issue of balance certificate, vii) Signature verification, viii) Ledger folio charges ix) Minimum balance requirement is also 50% for these class of customers.

(6) Telecommunications
(a) Department of Telecommunications has made special provisions for senior citizens who apply for a new telephone connection. The department has earmarked separate priority category for senior citizens wherein they can apply for registration. (b) In case of any complaint or fault with the telephone a senior citizen¶s complaint is redressed on a priority basis. (c) MTNL (Delhi) gives 25% discount in rentals (Tariff Plan-250 only) and installation to Senior Citizens who are 65 years or above in age. Please submit proof of age when applying to MTNL for availing this concession. Application form for a new connection (MTNL Delhi) in senior citizen category is available here. (d) MTNL (Mumbai) has a Non-OYT-Special category for Senior Citizens aged 65 years or above. To apply for a new connection in Mumbai, senior citizens can fill this application form. Whereas to avail senior citizen concession on an already existing telephone connection (MTNL Mumbai) this application form needs to be filled in.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Kindly note that these filled in forms are to be submitted to the MTNL offices in your city or sanchar haat. In case of any specific query you may also call toll free MTNL Help line 1500 from any MTNL number. (e) BSNL: I did not find any scheme with BSNL where concessions were admissible to senior citizens. I hope BSNL would consider such rebates soon.

(7) Travel by Indian Railways
(a) Travel by Indian Railways is 30% cheaper for all Senior Citizens who are 60 years in age or above, while women aged 60 years or above are entitled to 50% concession in fare. Indian Railways provides this fare concession to elderlies in all its trains including Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Jan Shatabdi trains. Kindly note that while travelling all Senior Citizens need to carry proof of their Date of Birth / Age with a Photo ID Card. (b) There are separate Counters / Queues for Senior Citizens at all Railway Stations for purchase, booking or cancellation of tickets. (c) Special arrangements are available for those who find it difficult to walk or move on their own. Wheel Chairs are available at all major junctions, District Headquarters and other important Railway stations for the convenience of Senior citizens and also for those who are in need. (d) Indian Railways have recently intro duced specially designed coaches which have provisions for hand rails and specially designed toilets for handicapped persons. These coaches also have space for wheel chairs.

(8) Travel by Airlines
(a) Senior Citizens are entitled to 50% discount on Economy Class fares on all flights of Indian Airlines subject to certain conditions. (b) Air India gives 45% discount in economy class on domestic sectors to senior citizens (women aged 63+ and men aged 65+). (c) Other Airlines operating in India also offer discounts to senior citizens. It is advisable to check with them before you plan your travel.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

(9) Travel by Roadways (state transport)
(a) State Road Transport Undertakings have made provision for senior citizens for reservation of 2 seats in the front row of all buses. (b) Some state governments also give concessions (in fare) to senior citizens, while some also have specially modelled buses for the elderlies.

(10) Law (Legislations)
Maintenance & Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Indian Government has recently enacted a law for welfare of elderlies (senior citizens and parents). This law creates provisions for maintenance, protection and security of elders.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

New Schemes
Well, the journey towards financial security does not end here. The Central Government is in the process of developing newer plans and schemes to benefit senior citizens. In the 2007-08 Budget , the Finance Minister has proposed to provide monthly income to seniors and develop new health insurance schemes.
For the benefit of senior citizens it has been proposed that y



The National Housing Bank will introduce a 'reverse mortgage' scheme under which a senior citizen who owns a house can avail of a monthly stream of income against mortgage of the house. The senior citizen remains the owner and occupies the house throughout his or her lifetime, without repayment or servicing of the loan. Regulations are to be put in place to allow creation of mortgage guarantee companies. An exclusive health insurance scheme for senior citizens is to be offered by the National Insurance Company. Three other public sector insurance companies as mentioned in the Medical Insurance section, are to offer a similar product to senior citizens. The Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill of 2007 - This bill has been recently introduced in Parlia ment. It provides for the maintenance of parents, establishment of old homes, provision of medical care and protection of life and property of senior citizens.

These new developments for senior citizens are meant to get them on the path to a better, peaceful and financially sound life .


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

World Elder's Day.

UN's WORLD ELDERS DAY is celebrated by Dignity Foundation on 1st October every year. A day which is a dedicated to our Volunteers, who are the wealth of the foundation. Their commitment to the cause is tremendous and they have become an inseparable part of Dignity Foundation and hence on this Special day, our volunteers are felicitated for their hard work. This year the awards function was held on October 6, 2009 at Sophia College Auditorium. Mrs.Vijaya Mehta, Executive Director and Trustee, National Centre of Performing Arts and Mr.Sujit Ganguli, SVP & Head - Marketing, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd. gave away the awards. A Kathak Dance performance by Nrityaranjini Sonia Parchure, was very well appreciated by our volunteer members. This year Dignity Foundation celebrated the World Elders' Day, 1st October very differently. We wanted to make every elderly person feel very special and thank them for being there for us and as a mark of app reciation for the hard work and their contribution to society, we decided to felicitate every 50+ we could reach out to. A "BEST" bus with banners and thanksgiving messages for the 50+ was booked by us. It plied between Colaba and Andheri with Dignity Fou ndation staff and volunteers, wearing Dignity Foundation T -Shirts. The bus made around 13 stops enroute. At every stop all the volunteers and staff got off the bus and reached out to as many 50+ as possible and crowned them, made them feel unique. This was a way of "Thanking them for being there for us". It really touched many of the elderly when we wished them Happy World Elders' Day and felicitated them. "The Smiles on their faces said it all"


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Role of Society towards Senior Citizens.
There is evidence to indicate tha the aged population is not sharing equitably in the process of development and is being negatively affected by the modernising, industrialising, and urbanising trends accompanying development. Moreover, the fertility and mortality are affecting major social institutions, such as, the family. Thus even in the developing countries where the cultural norms of caring for the aged remain strong, the physical capacity of the family to provide such care has weakened/This has significant ec onomic implications namely: (j) Reduction in family resources will be accompanied by an increased need for public services, both to strengthen the economic capacity of the family to perform its care taking role and where necessary to substitute the traditi onal family support ii) Increased marginalisation is resulting because of the loss of traditional roles, authority, opportunities for productive work and family support. Analysis of these issues lead to the suggestion that promoting active participation of ageing persons in all areas of community life is as important for equitable social development as for enhancing the productive potential of the society (Brody, 1971). Most of the respondents during the present survey were not willing to comment on their expectations from people/society because most of them have had bitter personal experiences in this regard. Some of them, however, shared their views and only after a lot of persuasion made a few suggestions. The general opinion was that the attitudes of the people have completely changed. The society has become more individualistic, materialistic, and achievement oriented and the elderly people are left behind in this race. The invasion of consumerism and foreign media through different television cha nnels has

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

further deteriorated the situation. They feel that earlier 'the elders of the family were treated as Gods but now-a-days they are no better than dogs. The offspring consider their old parents as liabilities. The young ones take good care of them only if they possess either some property or hefty bank balances or are an asset either economically or otherwise, else they are neglected. Regarding the role of society in helping old people, most of them opined that during the last phase of their lives, all that is required from the members of their families and the society is respect, love, and care. If the younger generation can spare half an hour from their busy schedule in providing company to them and to listen to and share their problems/experiences, it shall


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Developing awareness and providing support to build the capacity of government, NGOs and the community at large to make productive use of older persons and to provide care to older persons in need; Sensitizing children and youth towards older persons; reinforcing the Indian family tradition of providing special care and attention to older persons and organising older persons themselves into coherent self help groups capable of articulating their rights and interests. Under this scheme financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the project cost is provided to NGOs for establishing and maintaining old age homes, day care centres, and mobile medicare units and for providing non institutional services to older persons.

Intervention strategies:
Ageing is universal in scope and extremely varied in experience. It may be viewed either as a curse or as a challenge or some where in between the two. There are no perfect or permanent solutions to ageing because of diverse cultural patterns which are neither stable nor static. These vary from place to place and from time to time. The solutions Jo the problems of the older persons, therefore, must be worked out in consonance with the relevant cultures of the time and the place. Developing countries will have to accommodate an .increasing proportion of the elderly people even in persisting poverty. The changing cultural and demographic scenario makes it pertinent to examine. He strategies needed and the role social workers have in dealing with the problems of the senior citizens.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Although gerontological social work dates back to the mid -1940s, the Gerontological Society was formed in 1945 with a view to promote researches on issues related to ageing and to work with the elderly, group -work being the predominant mode of service. With the establishment of the National Council on Ageing in 1960, Social Work with older persons got a stimulus and it developed practice methods and techniques for the particular needs of this population. Many conferences and projects were undertaken i n the 1960's and the 1970's. Some of the deliberations included: Seminar on Ageing sponsored by the Council on Social Work Education in co -operation with National Committee on Ageing (1958); The Workshop on Social Work Practice with Ageing organised by the National Institute of Mental Health and Michigan School of Social Work (1964); Project on Ageing taken up by American Public Welfare Association (1966); and Project on Social Work with Ageing sponsored by the Family Service Association of America (1969). These dealt with social works' need to recognise the aged as a special group and thereby enabling social workers to develop special expertise needed for working in this new field of practice. Social work focuses on what can and needs to be done with the pr oblem. It seeks to facilitate the enhancement of a person's or group's ability to cope with its social and physical environment in pursuit of legitimate goals. Thus social work is concerned with helping individuals and groups to overcome limitations or obstacles that come in their way so that they are able to perform their normal social functions. The central goal of social work has been to enable people to improve their social functioning, that is, to carry out their social roles m a manner that is consistent with their capacity. A major focus has been on assisting persons socially so that they are able to cope with real-life situations and overcome conditions that present difficulties. Social work tries to help individuals, groups, and communities to balan ce between needs and demands of

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

the environment. Social work includes wide range of activities. At the micro level it helps the individual in need through varieties of services as well as assists in handling of crisis and stressful situations. At the macro level it deals with evolving/suggesting social action and social reforms. Thus, transformation of social structure from malfunctioning to normal functioning to optimal functioning is the objective of social work. The social workers are concerned with the perception of the problem at the societal level as well as at the level of an individual. A detailed study of the "care needs'' of older persons individually on the basis of age group, sex, and class, therefore, becomes necessary. So also a need to study i n details various chores involved in care giving and the patterns characteristic of domiciliary and institutional care are required. Similarly, a study of the problems experienced by the caregivers may help in evolving programmes that may strengthen care giving skills. Thus, to deal with various problems of the older persons a special field of practice developed - the gerontological social work or social work with the Aged. This branch of Social Work deals with the problems of people' 60 years and above. Gerontological social work also helps younger people to avoid some of the problems that the aged persons have by taking preventive steps.

Intervention Strategies
1. Lengthening of life span has led to increase in the population of olderpersons at an extra ordinary high rate, not only in numbers Jbut also in terms of percentage to general population, /This means that now there are more ageing an<T dependent people in our society with relatively fewer younger people to provide support to them. Increasing number of elderly persons with erosion of family support systems calls for evolving new arrangements for their care.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

2. Another significant development has been the improved quality of health care services, which has increased the life expectancy and people live for longer years. Geriatric health care services, therefore, need to be improved further and made freely available. 3. There are greater numbers of older women compared to men. This is also a new phenomenon. In the past many women used to die in their young age either from childbirth complications or from the stresses of raising large families under primitive conditions. Further, women are mostly dependent on men economically hence in case of their husbands' death they are faced with financial problems as well. Since many aged women face longer periods of widowhood, their plight is precarious because of loneliness and financial and social dependence. The problems of the aged widowed women, therefore, need special attention. 4. Changes in the family are also important. In the coming generations there will be fewer children to support their elderly and smaller sized extended family networks. Families are likely to have more of older members, and many families will have both older and younger dependants at the same time. In the 21st Century, it will become common for many older persons to have few or even no children to care for them in their old age. 5. Smaller families mean fewer children are available to care for their ageing parents. Moreover, because of increased mobility due to inter- and intra-country migrations, adult children often cannot live with their old parents as they used to do in the past. Another socio economic change especially in urban areas that has reduced tha family capacity for care of older members in the increase in the number of working women. Since women were primarily the caretakers of the family in our society, by their joining the labour force their care taking role has become limited.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

6. Adult children seem to have virtually accepted the fact that t hree generations cannot live satisfactorily under one roof especially in small sized houses or apartments. 7. The economic status of the aged is perhaps more varied than in any other age group. Older persons are likely to have lesser income though they have to spend more on basic necessities. This makes them poorer. Their expenses on health care alone are twice than that of the younger people. Economic security, therefore, becomes necessary for them. 8. In order to understand the relationship between poverty a nd ageing it is important to find out as to which of the sub-groups of elderly are most likely to live in poverty. Widowed women, particularly those who live alone, are perhaps the worst affected. Poverty in old age makes housing, proper nutrition, health care, transport, etc. unaffordable. Traditionally these needs were being met with within the family. Friends and neighbours also used to help in emergency situations, and provide companionship and reassurance. With the emergence of nuclear family system, however, the traditional support values have collapsed. Formal social welfare agencies, therefore, have to come forward to take care of the needs of the aged. 9. Retirement is another social change that affects the needs of ageing people. Today it is common fo r the aged to have many more post retirement years. The retiree loses a major mechanism whereby his 3atly routine is disturbed and needs exclusive re-scheduling. One has to generate occupation for time management and utilisation of self -worth that was experienced during their professional career. Retirement brings tremendous change not only for the retiree but also for the whole family in terms of readjustment on the economic front and in the daily household routine. In some instances children may also get affected due to increased leisure-time of the parents.

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Implications for Social Work Practice
Social work relates to the provision and management of different kinds of social support to the elderly. The kind of resources social workers will provide will be crucial in enabling the elderly to move forward in the next phase of their lives. The growth in the number of people aged 75 years and above has implications as well as it provides significant challenges and opportunities for social work practice because of the varied kind of personalised service this group would require. Unlike earlier generations death is now clustered towards the end of the life course therefore, in terms of social relationships it is the loss of spouse, close relations and friends, which is a striking feature of later years. Since people experience death when then -own personal resources of health and income diminish social work under these circumstances becomes inseparable from help in the context of bereavement and assisting people thro ugh the process of rebuilding their lives and social networks (Machin, 3993; Jerrome, 1993). Social Welfare programmes so far had been emphasising mainly on income generation opportunities for the poor, vulnerable, dependent, and the disabled. But in the coming decades the public and the private sectors will be pressured to assume responsibility for some of the functions that were traditionally being provided by the family. Present trends suggest that as development proceeds old age security is likely to shift from family support to public support. There are evidences to indicate that increase in aged population will have profound effect on the socio-economic development of the society as a whole. Since the ultimate aim of development as stated by the Intern ational Development Strategy for the third UN Development Decade and adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 35/36 is, " the constant improvement of the wellbeing of the entire population on the basis of its full participation in the process of development and a fair distribution of the benefits therefrom," the ageing

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

population, will therefore, have strong influence on the course of development both economically and socially. When persons retire and become inactive, their increasing numbers in the population implies deteriorating ratios between the labour force and the ageing dependants. The socio -‡economic implications of ageing population, therefore, need to be considered in this light (United Nations, 1994). Social work has a major role in reaffirming the resilience and power of older people. Thus within the process of support the strengths of older persons fifed to be recognised. Different forms of social work interventions should be based on the problems faced by the aged. Interventio ns could also be used positively to enhance the process of individuals' rediscovering a sense of purpose and identity in later life through forms of practice, such as, personal biography and life review therapy (Bornat, 1994; Hughes, 1995). Ageism, meaning discrimination against older persons merely due to their age, affect many institutions and have a number of dimensions, such as, job discrimination, loss of status, delrumamsation, etc. The goal of socialworkers should be to work towards a society which is free of ageism. It is important to recognise the actual and potential disabilities of later life and the possibilities for further growth and development even in very late old age. The elderly should be allowed to participate in the programmes at their own pace. Their low motivation should be understood and recognised and it is here that the role of social workers is paramount. Both case-workers and group workers have much to contribute in the preventive and rehabilitative services for older person s. From medical and social work point of view preventive and restorative environmental measures need to be strengthened. It is .possible to care for ageing individuals by being alert to their health and survival needs and by helping them to achieve actual or contrived gains in self -reliance which will


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

make their life worth living.Social workers have an obligation to work towards creating a social climate that will be congenial to both the elderly and the youth alike Dunning (1995} observed that changes in family structure, living arrangements and patterns of employment may create situations where some older persons may not have either a partner or a close relative to provide support or speak on their behalf. Thus, social work in the 21 st centur y will be concerned with advocacy which will reflect on social change and the impact of social legislation on the aged. Social work and advocacy are important because of the likelihood of older people entering situations where their frailties may be exposed or enhanced and the older persons may feel that their autonomy is being undermined by professional care -takers who take decisions on their behalf. Therefore, advocacy as a central social role in work with older persons becomes important. Social work practice has to extend beyond the middle years to cater to the increasing older population. Its services, therefore, need re -examination and realignment to provide wide range of suitable facilities that could be adaptable, inter-changeable, and flexibly administered to cater to the needs of the heterogeneous ageing population. Social workers should be concerned in determining as to how well the ageing clients themselves make use of the services available to them. Working with caregivers, man y of whom are themselves not young enough to take care of their elderly independently, also forms a major task before the social workers. Chances are that stresses associated with informal care may many a time lead to abuse and/or neglect of older persons. There is, therefore, a need to assess the stresses and strains that the caregivers may undergo while caring for the elderly.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Right to individuality respect, and dignity are fundamental to achieving satisfaction especially in old age and these should b e ensured. Social workers need to use wide range of techniques of communication with older clients if relationships are to be established. Although communication in itself is not an objective of social work but it is an essential part of the development of assessment and treatment and as such is part of the task of social workers. Communication is an important part of the process of gathering information, attaching meaning to the information, and also it is a part of building up relationships and providing practical help. Social workers probably have the sole prerogative in this area. It includes imparting, sharing, and transmitting of information and involves perception of both the givers of the information and the recipients. The primary objective of good communication is to achieve understanding. Before an effective relationship can develop basic trust must be established which in turn rests on a degree of mutual knowledge. This demands a level of communication and the social worker must not only be able t o receive messages clearly but must also be able to present himself and his objectives in such a way that the client will be able to accept and use the information effectively.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Abuse of older persons is coming to light frequently. But gathering informatio n on domestic elder abuse is difficult because most often family loyalties come in the way. Social workers and health workers, therefore, need to be trained in detecting the abuse and in acquiring the sensitivity to deal with it. The vulnerability of the elderly themselves, the impact of their problems on the family and the society, and the comparative lack of knowledge about the needed social interventions make the ageing population, a prime concern of social work in all its traditional forms, that is: 1. Individual and group service 2. Community organisation

3. Policy formulation 4. Education 5. Research Social work is an essential ingredient at all these levels. Whether it is health care or welfare systems social work should have a major role in the identification of problems and in the delivery of preventive, supportive, and restorative services. Knowledge of projected increase of older persons and their distribution by age, sex, and place of residence is vital for determining the necessary dimensions and structure"6f future health and social welfare services, family support, housing employment opportunities, and income security schemes for ageing persons particularly for the most vulnerable among them, h as, isolated widows, inhabitants of remote rural areas, and frail d very old persons. Morris (1969) states that social work should at reinforcing or where need be: substituting family relationship; providing meaningful social roles through work and leisure-time activities; expanding health services and facilities; improving income maintenance programmes; integrating welfare services through co-ordinated referral systems; and planning for appropriate location of ices. The morale of the older people is largely dependent on their

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

come, health, and social contacts. Therefore, income maintenance, health services, and services which provide opportunities for socialisation are factors critical to the well-being of older persons, Assurance of adequate income and health care should be provided a matter of right to the age d and their family. There is need to expand the community based programmes; develop intermediate quasi-institutional programmes; improve institutional programmes; and develop a mix of community and institutional care, such as day care temporary care for the aged so that the family members could either go on a vacation or are able to meet with other emergencies. More attention needs to be given to supportive services for the older persons living in their own homes. Social workers should work with the elderly in community as ell as in institutional settings using a wide variety of practice approaches. Some of the important roles the social workers should handle are (i) provide information about available services to the older persons and their families ii) as Case Manager, co-ordinate the wide variety of services, iti) as a counsellor, provide crisis management, (iv) as a Group Worker, provide variety of group services the elderly, (v) as Community Development and Planning ^Consultant, work on services for older people, (vi) as co-ordinator, liaison with public and private agencies and community groups, (vii) .s Administrator, be responsible for planning and implementation of programmes that benefit the elderly, and (viii) as a Social Worker, a nursing home, hos pital, or other residential or institutional setting provide welfare services to the older persons.

Services Needed
Johnson and Schwartz (1988) suggested a comprehensive ^framework consisting of four levels of care (see Table 5.1).


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Preventive care services: These are provided before an individual reaches the aged stage of life. If people prepare for this stage they will be more likely to identify their needs, develop an understanding of how to meet them and muster resources for meeting those needs. Socialisation: These refer to the services required for change in life style after retirement to cope with the adjustments involved and to develop new, satisfying, and responsible life style. Supportive and Protective Care Services: These refer to services provided to the frail, ill, or disabled older persons with a view to support them and their care takers in maintaining their capacity to live in the community. This would prevent premature institutionalisation and support active an d satisfying life-style to the extent possible. Institutional Care: This should be meant for only those who can no longer be maintained in a community living situation. This chart can help assess as to which services are available in the community and those which need to be developed. For example, preventive care and socialisation can be provided through natural and community systems and these do not require large government funding and can prevent or postpone need for expensive supportive and protective ca re and institutional care. It is important to understand that problems of older persons are multisymptomatic, i.e. social, em6tional, psychological, and medical factors all become inextricably linked. It is, therefore, essential that doctors, health visit ors and social workers work as team and make total assessment of the needs of the older persons. The four tasks namely, assessment, communication, forming relationships, and providing practical help will form the basis for examining the needs and services for the elderly. Although social work is primarily problem


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

oriented, while working with the aged persons it should be process oriented and must focus on all of the following areas: "'I. Medical Aid II. Employment III. Community services/ Day Care Centres IV. Information and referral V. Legal aid VI. Counselling services VII Old Age Home

Social Work Activities with the Aged
Work with Individuals: Counselling: Health problems need specialised

attention. Apart from the medical advice and treatment given by the doctors, (the social workers need to handle the anxiety about illness and treatment} They should tap resources for providing appliances such as hearing aid s, spectacles, dentures, etc. to the needy. Adjustment problems of the aged either within the

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

family or while they are in the institution can also be handled by counselling. The social workers should encourage the aged to ventilate their anxieties relating to death and the last rites and support and reassure them about the responsibility of the institution towards their funeral rites. Counselling is also required in the management of investments, tax exemptions, legal aid, and arrangement for payment of ele ctricity and telephone bills, house tax, and in the fulfilment of other similar obligations. Work with Group of Aged Persons: Involvement of the elderly persons in group situations increase their sense of belonging and togetherness and develop leadership qualities which get transferred to other situations also and help increase the level of satisfaction of members. In an institutional set -up they should be involved in the management of day to day activities of the institution like, cleanliness of the premises, planning of menus, and celebration of special activities during cultural and religious festivities. Probably harnessing resources and skills of the elderly along with the young can prevent them from becoming a constantly increasing burden on the societ y. Therapeutic Groups: Institutionalisation can be traumatic for many since rules and regulations many a time may curtail their freedom. Moreover, adjustment with so many strange faces from different backgrounds can also lead to problems which the social workers can make them overcome thr ough counselling and group work. Those persons who are shy and withdrawn and those who are depressed and anxious tend to respond well in group situation's ,Group discussions, games, music, excursions, and such other activities make their life satisfying and meaningful. Occupational Groups: Persons who wish to spend their time fruitfully and are capable of performing some tasks, that is, they are not physically incapacitated, work oriented groups can help them preserve their feelings of self worth and


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

also help them to be mentally alert and physically dextrous. Activities should be planned for them in collaboration with such members taking into account their collective | 5as well as individual interests, capabilities, and talents. Recreational Groups: Such groups are very important because these promote interaction, bring out various talents which the persons ^themselves may not be aware of previously, and promote a more cheerful outlook. These are open groups where members have options |£or attending these at their own conveniences and sweet will. Activities p: can range from group games, to musical sessions, to film shows, to ^religious activities, and so on. Supportive Services: If family systems have to be made more effe ctive for the care of the aged then those families who are willing to keep their aged members with them even in multi-problem situations ft, should be helped by providing monetary help as well as supportive services. Supportive services like providing visiting nurses who could teach simple nursing care to the relatives under their supervision. If: Also incentives in terms of tax relief, and other rebates to sons and I daughters who undertake such responsibilities should be considered to avoid financial and physical hardships to them. Foster Care: Social workers need to organise services for those aged persons who are living alone. Foster care could be explored. Adopt a granny is one such scheme. Another modified form of foster care is where the older persons who have accommodation to offer keep young people as paying guests. These young persons can provide help in household chores and companionship besides providing a steady income to the elderly. Role of Social Workers: Social workers have a role in the day care centres that cater to the sociological, economic, and emotional needs of the elderly. Besides recreational programmes, counselling services, and facilities for periodic health

Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

check-ups the activities of the centre should also include income generatio n programmes for the elderly. Such centres should help the elderly to utilize their time meaningfully and also preserve their feeling of self worth as well as enable them to keep in touch with the society in a positive way. Social workers should mobilise volunteers and train them appropriately so that they could provide errand services like paying bills, do their shopping, and take care of household chores for those elderly persons who are unable to move about and are living alone. Social Work needs to be more family based which can help provide the following services to the senior citizens: I. II. Supplementary nutrition through meals on wheels. Providing aids such as spectacles, dentures, crutches, sticks, transport service, etc. especially to the needy and poor . III. IV. . Medical facilities through mobile dispensaries Recreational activities such as low cost movies, mobile libraries, reading rooms, holiday trips within and outside the city, social and religious activities V. Provide opportunities to the elderly for community service like literacy programmes looking after sick elderly, coaching to children, etc. VI. Help in the management investment, budgeting, tax related matters, etc. VII. . Counselling for overcoming isolation VIII. Holiday home services to provide short duration placement wherein the older persons can stay while the family is away on a holiday IX. Develop more of co-operative family care by involving and training all the family members in elderly care


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens


Provide care facilities adjacent/near to the work place to enable men and women to care for older family members


Provide community-integrated and barrier-free housing that would enable the elderly to live independently but near the family and in the communitv


Promote use of volunteers not only in institutional settings but in family care-giving also.

It is essential that old people retain a feeling of usefulness and a sense of being a welcome member of the community. It is seen that creativity helps to delay infirmity and introduces new sources of social and personal interests. It also provides a full and happy life to the aged. Craft activities can be introduced either to individuals or to a group of old people. A resourceful organiser can utilise the varying capabilities of the aged through these craft activities. Patience, good humour, and adaptability coupled with deep desire to give a real chance of happiness to the older persons in their leisure years arc some of the qualities that are necessary for social workers. Apart from economic problems the feeling which deve lops in old age that they are unwanted is very disheartening for them. Hence one of the ways is to prepare them to fight for their rights, to chalk out strategies for solving their problems, and to relieve them from


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens



Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

Shri Moti Singh, 75 years old has studied up to school level only. He has three married sons, one married daughter and a wife. He stays with one of his married son¶s family along with his wife. The others sons stay separately and do not have cordial relations with him. He retired from government service but his pension is insufficient and, therefore, has to depend on his son for financial support. He suffers from asthma and high blood pressure because of which he is unable to share any of the househol d responsibility. He spends his time either watching Television or attending to religious discourses ad gossiping with the family members. He feels that the government should provide medical aid and counseling facilities free of cost. Food and housing to t he elderly should be subsidized because the pension they receive is insufficient to meet their essentialities. He expects that the society would learn to respect the elders and would also render help to them in all possible ways.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens


Smt. Chander Wati is 60 years old widow and is illiterate. She has two sons. One of them has studied up to 9 th class and the other one is illiterate. Both the sons are married but only the older one along with his family lives with her. The younger son work outside Delhi and, therefore lives separately. She is in receipt of old age pension from the Department of S ocial Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi and is happy that both her sons and their wives as well as the grandchildren give her proper respect and she is regularly consulted in various family matters. They stay in a rented house. The old age pension she gets is meager with which she can not meet even her medical and rental expenses. She opined that the old age pension should be periodically revised keeping in view the rising cost. She feels that the government should open up more Day Care Centers instead o old age homes. The older persons prefer to stay with their families but would avail of the facilities provided at the Day Care Centers. To facilitate the visits to the Day Care Centers either these should be located near their residences or free/subsidized transport should be provided. Medical and library facilities could be provided through mobile services.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens

It may be conclude by saying that the problem of the elderly must be addressed to urgently and with utmost care. There is ur gent need to amend the Constitution for the special provision to protection of aged person and bring it in the periphery of fundamental right. With the degeneration of joint family system, dislocation of familiar bonds and loss of respect for the aged pers on, the family in modern times should not be thought to be a secure place for them. Thus, it should be the Constitutional duty of the State to make an Act for the welfare and extra protection of the senior citizen including palliative care. By the study of the thesis the concept of ageing is clear now and their benefits, programmes and policies are also known. One thing is understood that we should respect our elders because this is the age which is very suspicious to mankind and is very useful to mankind. Elder people have ample of knowledge and loads of experience because they have come across the situation and has experienced a lot from it. So in today walks of life one should take help and suggestions regarding all the matters of life and it is very usef ul for one¶s success.


Issues In Social Security for Senior Citizens



Book By ± Sneh Lata Tandon. : Senior citizens ± Perspective for the New


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