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news details
Extended facilities to senior citizens
10/9/2019 11:31:05 PM
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal

The elderly should be viewed as contributors to the process of development, and their ability to affect social betterment must be taken into account during policy and programme formulation at all levels. After a lifetime of working, and contributing to the success of this nation in countless ways, senior citizens deserve to have a dignified status in the society. Being a senior citizen may bring certain benefits that are not generally available to people who have not reached that age. The government has its prime duty towards its senior citizens in providing many sops to this segment. The facilities that are provided to this fraternity are not a mercy on them but their right. In USA, as a senior citizen, you qualify for assistance programs that can help with health care costs, nutrition, and increase access to community volunteer activities and offer employment opportunities, among other benefits. These benefits are offered not only by federal, state and local governments, but on a business-to-consumer basis as well. In India, senior citizens can avail of a host of benefits that add to their convenience and ease their financial burden. The facilities extended from time to time to Senior citizens can be listed as;
1. Tax Laws are relaxed for the senior citizens to ease their financial burden. Income of up to Rs 3 lakh is non-taxable. For super senior citizens (over 80 year of age), income of up to Rs 5 lakh is non-taxable. Health insurance premium of up to Rs 30,000 gets tax deduction under Section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961. Senior citizens suffering from a critical illness can avail a tax deduction of up to Rs 60,000 under Section 80DDB. The limit is increased to Rs 80,000 for super seniors.
2. Senior citizens can avail of various discounts on travelling fares. Air travel: Senior citizens with Indian citizenship, who are over 60, are eligible for 50% discount on economy fare for domestic travel. Rail travel: Men over the age of 60, and women over the age of 58 are eligible for discount respectively. The element of concession is 40% for men and 50% for women. The discount is available on fares of all classes of Mail/Express/Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi/ Duranto trains. There is a provision to allot lower berths to Senior Citizens, subject to availability of accommodation at the time of booking, to help the old and disabled passengers requiring assistance at the stations and to strengthen the existing services. 'Yatri Mitra Sewa' is being provided through IRCTC at major stations for enabling passengers to book wheel chair services cum porter services. Bus travel: Some municipal corporation and state governments give concession to senior citizens on bus fare. Certain bus seats are also reserved for them.
3. Higher Interest: There are government-backed savings instrument offered to Indian residents above the age of 60. They get higher interest on investments. The Senior Citizen's Saving Scheme is available to all seniors over the age of 60. It offers interest of 8.4% per annum. Senior citizens get 0.5% higher interest rate on fixed deposits than the standard rate.
4. Special Schemes: The government has several senior citizen welfare schemes. Such as: Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY). The scheme is managed by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Under this scheme the beneficiary is assured of 8 per cent per annum return on the deposit. National Insurance offers 'Varishta Mediclaim Policy', for seniors aged 60-80. Maximum sum insured offered is Rs 1 lakh for hospitalisation and Rs 2 lakh for critical illness, LIC's Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 will provide an assured pension to senior citizens based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% for 10 years. A maximum of Rs 7.5 lakh can be invested in this scheme and one can get pension on monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY). Launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of Government of India. This scheme is only available to those senior citizens, who are below poverty line, that is, are BPL cardholders. Senior citizens suffering from low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth, and locomotors disability will be provided with assisted-living devices. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme. Introduced in 2007 by the Ministry of Rural Development of India, this scheme is popularly known as National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS). This scheme provides social assistance benefits to senior citizens, widows, and those with disabilities.
5. Lower Charges: The telephone bills of senior citizens are subsidized. BSNL: Senior citizen over 65 is eligible for registration of telephone on priority with waiver of registration charges for them.
6. Other Benefits: Banks, hospitals, etc. make special allowances for them. Separate queues for the elderly in hospitals for registration and clinical examination. Senior citizens over the age of 60 can write to the court for preferential hearing of their cases. Senior citizens can be issued a passport on post police verification basis if they submit a copy of the passport of their child (above 18) staying abroad (with a page having their name) as an additional document along with their application form. Bank branches have separate queues for the elderly. Most banks have special accounts for senior citizens that offer facilities like issuing senior citizen cards, priority service at branches, etc.
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