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Modi Government showed its commitment towards the Senior Citizens! Here are some Big Steps

by Socio Gyani - Mar 12 2019 1:34PM

 

Amongst the rhetoric of demographic dividend and the focus on the youth of India, we tend to forget the older generation and its issues. Even though the proportion of senior citizens increased by more than 35% from 2001 to 2011, the required focus was never given. In the last 5 years, a lot has been done by the government to provide better living conditions to the senior citizens of our country. 

Pension and Life Insurance are the two most significant requirements for senior citizens. The Budget of 2019-20 ensured that all unorganized sector workers get an assured pension of Rs 3000 per month after the age of 60 years under the PM Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana. The earlier schemes like Atal Pension Yojana and PM Suraksha Bima Yojana have played their part in creating a security net for the senior citizens, coupled with earlier schemes like Old Age Pension under National Social Assistance Program. 

To help the senior citizens aged 60 and above, the government has started a new scheme called Vaya Vandana Yojana. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above which is available from 4th May 2017 to 31st March 2020. This is a huge step towards benefitting senior citizens by providing an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly for 10 years, the scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST, on the survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, the scheme also allows for the premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. 

To make sure that the healthcare of the senior citizens is taken care of the government has also launched the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme. According to the Senior Citizen Health Insurance scheme, senior citizens will get medical coverage from the government for meeting medical help. Under the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS), the government will provide top-up coverage of up to Rs. 30,000 per senior citizen in the state. Moreover, if there are more than 1 senior citizen in an RSBY rolled family, the additional insurance coverage in multiples of Rs. 30,000 per senior citizen will be provided on floater basis. To provide free medical treatment to the senior citizens in Himachal Pradesh state, the government is setting a plan to launch a new scheme recently. 

Fusion of digital technology with the welfare of senior citizen welfare was done by the Modi government. One of the biggest initiatives taken is the Jeevan Pramaan Certificate. It is expected to benefit over a crore pensioner. Jeevan Pramaan will do away with the requirement of a pensioner having to submit a physical Life Certificate in November each year, in order to ensure continuity of pension being credited into their account. There are more than 1.25 Crore pensioners from Central Government (50 Lakhs) and State Government / Territories (50 Lakhs) and from Armed Forces (25 Lakhs) who would benefit from this new Jeevan Pramaan system. The government of India would provide Biometric devices for low cost and software/application free of cost. 

A lot of other subsidies and benefits are also provided to the senior citizens. Income of up to Rs 3 lakh is non-taxable. For super senior citizens (over 80 years of age), the 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.

Many higher interests and Special schemes are also available to the Senior Citizen's like a 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, and the National Insurance offers 'Varishta Mediclaim Policy,' for seniors aged 60-80. Maximum sum insured offered is Rs 1 lakh for hospitalization 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 a pension on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis.

Let us leave you with a video about what exactly has the government done for the senior citizens!

 

 

Socio Gyani is a set of individual experts in the field of women and child development, issues of backward sections, senior citizens and disabled sections. They tweet at @SocioGyani 

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