From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : About the bill
Mains level : Old age care
The Union Cabinet has approved The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
About the Bill
- The Bill seeks to amend The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, passed by Parliament during the term of UPA-I.
- The 2007 Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 20, 2007, and passed on December 5 and 6 of that year by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.
- Among the key features of the Bill, as per a summary were:
- Children and heirs were legally obligated to provide maintenance to senior citizens.
- State governments were permitted to establish old age homes in every district.
- Senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves, were given the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal seeking a monthly allowance from their children or heirs.
- State governments were to set up maintenance tribunals in every subdivision to decide the level of maintenance. Appellate tribunals were to be established at the district level.
- State governments were to set the ceiling for the maximum monthly maintenance allowance. The Bill capped the maximum monthly allowance at Rs 10,000 per month.
- Punishment for not paying the required monthly allowance was fixed at Rs 5,000, or up to three months in prison, or both.
The proposed changes
- The “major salient features” of the proposed Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Amendment Bill are:
(i) Definition of ‘children’ and ‘parents’ has been expanded.
(ii) Definition of ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.
(iii) Mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.
(iv) Ceiling of Rs 10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.
(v) Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.
(vi) Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.
(vii) Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes has been included in the Bill.
(viii) Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.
(ix) Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been included.