Older people are especially vulnerable due to their physical frailty and lack of mobility. Old age comes with its share of problems. As a person grows older his regular source of income dries up. In such a scenario, the government needs to lend a helping hand to the Senior Citizens.
Most of the older persons in India have no social security, especially people living in rural areas and working in unorganized sector. While 30 per cent of them live without proper meals a day, an estimated 55 per cent of the older population consists of women, with no support whatsoever.
India's 90 million Senior Citizens wants the government to utilize their skills for mutual benefit, range from safety to pension and income security, raising tax exemption limit and subsidy to health benefits.
The Budget 2009 offered peanuts to Senior Citizens:
The Budget proposes to increase the personal income tax exemption limit of senior citizens by Rs 15,000--from Rs 2.25 lakh to Rs 2.40 lakh. Although the exemption limit has been raised, the net savings would amount only to about Rs 1,500 for senior citizens.
The government has cleared the air on the taxation process of the New Pension System, but still long way to go.
Wish List by Senior Citizens for Indian Finance Minister:
- Total exemption of all taxes for people 75yrs and above
- IT exemption upto 25% in personal income for people between 60yrs to 74 yrs
- Comprehensive Medical Insurance for all above 60 yrs of age
- Minimum 25% concession in Hospital bills in all Trust and Government Hospitals
- Tax benefits for organization providing Elder Care and Geriatric service
- Tax benefits for children’s looking after Elderly
- Disability Concession to person and family of person suffering from Dementia and Parkinson
- Low budget Homes for Elderly
- Tax benefit for Builders and developers for reserving 5% of flats to Elders/disabled
- Promotion of Elder friendly village concept then Old age homes
- Ration benefit/subsidy for BPL elderly
- Comprehensive NPS for all
- Uniform Pension for all
- Social Security for people above 60 yrs and above to be increased upto Rs.3000/- p.m
- Tax benefit and subsidy for organization manufacturing Elder care products
- Tax benefit for R & D in products and services for Elderly
- Tax benefit for Universal Design Building and products
- More clarity on Reverse Mortgage and its implementation
- Promotion and tax benefit for Alternative Therapy
- Income generation and livelihood scheme like NREGA should be started
- SHG should be started in each Taluka
Government should STOP abusing the helpless Senior Citizens and must seriously consider providing better health care, social security and other benefits so that they can live with dignity, peace and security for rest of their life.
Promotion of Community base care and Ageing in place should be most important aspect of road map for successful and productive ageing.
Lets support the most neglected and ignored segment of our society, our Elders.