Senior Citizens Welfare Fund

About the Scheme

According to the 2011 population census India has nearly 104 million senior citizens of the total population. And around 71 % of senior citizens live in rural parts and 29 % reside in urban areas of India. These senior citizens are often left out when it comes to basic amenities and requirements and have to depend on others for their living and financial support especially in urban areas, whereas the senior citizens living in rural areas are unable to get aids for their age-related impairments or disabilities due to financial weakness. For overcoming this issue in senior citizens of rural and urban areas and provide the senior citizens with financial and health stability, the government came up with the Senior Citizens Welfare Scheme and Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana. The Senior Citizens Welfare Fund (SCWF) was included under the Finance Act, 2015 for 3 years that is till 2020. This fund is utilized for the welfare of senior citizens. It is expected that around 5,20,000 senior citizens would benefit from this scheme. The scheme also tries that at least 30 % of beneficiaries in all districts should be women as far as possible. An amount of Rs. 410.23 crore was allocated as of December 2019, as initial funding under the scheme, and is handled by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The fund is allocated from the unclaimed money which is lying untouched (after 10 years is transferred) under the Small Savings Schemes, Public Provident Fund, Employees Provident Fund (unclaimed for 7 years), any insurance scheme (be it life or non – life), any such unclaimed policy under the insurance companies, Coal Mines Provident Fund, and Central Government Schemes such as the Savings lying in the Post Office, Post Office Time Deposit Account, Kisan Vikas Patra, Post Office Monthly Income Account, Post Office Recurring Deposit, and Senior Citizens Savings Scheme.

In 2016, the Department of Economic Affairs transferred an amount of Rs 5889.17 crore to the corpus of Senior Citizens Welfare Fund and the interest accrued from this would be utilized for the Welfare Scheme funded from the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund. The Department of Economic Affairs allocated an amount of Rs 16 crore from the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund and provided it to the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment for the implementation of the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana. An inter–ministerial committee is set up for the administration of the funds. This ministry comprises – Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the Nodal Ministry, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Department of Financial Services.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is a scheme under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. This scheme was launched in 2017. The funds for this scheme target at providing assistive living devices and other aids to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category belonging to senior citizens, who suffer from disabilities due to growing age. Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment by which the scheme is implemented. This public sector undertaking manufactures assistive living devices. Depending upon the disability of impairment the following assistive devices are provided to the eligible senior citizens under the scheme:

• Spectacles

• Artificial Dentures

• Hearing Aids

• Walking Sticks

• Wheelchair

• Crutches / Walkers

• Elbow Crutches

• Tripods / Quadpods

To avail of benefits under this scheme, the senior citizen must belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. He/she must be suffering from age-related disabilities and those disabilities can be – Loss of teeth, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, or low vision. The assistive devices provided for these impairments try to provide near normalcy bodily functioning.

Impact  

A total of 325 districts were selected for the implementation of this scheme. 135 districts completed their assessment camps for identification of the beneficiaries as of 25/01/2019. As per the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 70939 senior citizens belonging to the BPL category have benefited from 77 distribution camps organized. In the year 2017 – 18,34069 senior citizens benefited from this scheme and in the year 2018 – 19, 36870 senior citizens benefited from this scheme of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana.