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Friday, May 10, 2013

Schemes for Senior Citizens in India

Schemes for Senior Citizens in India 
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. In Central Government Hospitals located in Delhi, namely, Safdarjung, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College & associated Hospitals, separate registration counters/windows/rows are provided for senior citizens in OPDs to avoid standing in long queue.
(b) Assistance like wheelchairs/trolleys are also provided for senior citizens in OPDs of Dr. RML Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital, where they are attended on a priority basis.
(c) The Delhi Government runs special clinics for Senior Citizens in most of its hospitals in Delhi.
(d) There is a weekly geriatric OPD in Dr. RML Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital. At All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), preference is given to Senior citizens with regard to OPD consultation, emergency management as well as hospitalization.
(e) At Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi 104 beds are reserved for senior citizens. In other Hospitals including AIIMS, although there is no special reservation of beds for senior citizens, preference is given to them in admission and bed is allowed to them on priority.
(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 2012-13 (presented on 16th March, 2012) the threshold income when you start paying tax stands at Rs. 2.50 lakh per annum for senior citizens below 80 years age. For senior citizens who are 80 years and above the threshold income is Rs. 5 lakh per annum.
(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.
(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.
Please check with your nearest Bank on what special facilities exist for Senior Citizens and Pensioners.
(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.
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 call 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 40% cheaper for all male Senior Citizens who are 60 years in age or above, while women aged 58 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) Lower Berths:  In trains having reserved accommodation, a combined quota of two lower berths per coach has been earmarked in Sleeper, AC 3 tier and AC 2 tier classes for Senior Citizens, Female passenger who is 45 years of age and above and Pregnant women.

(d) In the Computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS), there is a provision to allot lower berths automatically to male passengers of 60 years and above and female passengers of 45 years and above subject to the availability of lower berths at the time of booking of tickets.

(e) After departure of the train, if there are vacant lower berths available in the train, and if any senior citizen who has been allotted upper/middle berth, approaches for allotment of vacant lower berths, the Conductor/Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) has been authorized to allot the vacant lower berth to them after making necessary entries in the chart.

(f) 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.

(g) Indian Railways have recently introduced 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.
(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)
(a) Maintenance & Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens
Indian Government has enacted a law for welfare of elderlies (senior citizens and parents). This law creates provisions for maintenance, protection and security of elders.
Download a copy of the Act What was the need for this law? (Statement of Objects and Reasons)
(b) Maintenance Tribunals for Parents and Senior Citizens in Delhi
(11)  Old Age Homes and Recreation Centres for Senior Citizens
(a) Old Age Homes in India
(b) Recreation Centres for Senior Citizens in India

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