Old Age Problem in India

The elderly population in India is continuously increasing and also the problems faced by these people are increasing simultaneously. The number of people in old age homes is constantly increasing and also most of the parents are now deciding to live in old age homes rather than living with their children. Nowadays these people are facing the problems like lack of care, emotional support and economic support from the family etc. Our culture recognizes the status of the parents as that of God.  A moral duty is put on the children to take care of their parents. But nowadays what we are observing in our society is that the children are not willing to take care of their parents, they do not want to spend money on them, they are treating their parents as aliens, they do not want to share an emotional bond with parents.  These children are forgetting that the foundation of their life is built up by the parents. They are forgetting their moral and ethical duties towards their parents. This is because of fast life, industrialization, money oriented minds, inflation etc. Children have no time to look after their parents because of their busy schedule and as a consequence of this situation the elders are getting neglected. At this age almost all the people need some kind of support.

Some laws are enacted to solve this problem. According to the mentality of people here, they do not bother to follow moral duties but they have to follow legal duties because of fear of punishment. The maintenance of parents is included in section 125 of CrPC, The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956. But the procedures under these laws are time consuming and expensive. Under these acts parents can claim maintenance from their children. National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAP) was introduced by the Indian government to provide Rupees 200 per month to the old and destitute people. But money can not take place of emotional support, care etc. In 2007, The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and senior Citizen Act (Senior Citizen Act) is enacted to provide some speedy and inexpensive remedy to get maintenance. The bill provides for—

a)   Appropriate mechanism to be set-up to provide need-based maintenance to the parents and senior citizens

b)    Providing better medical facilities to them

c)    For institutionalization of a suitable,  mechanism for protection of life and property of older persons

d)    Setting-up of old age homes in every district

Family life is very necessary for senior citizens and for parents to lead a life of security, care and dignity. So the act will really help senior citizens, and they will be able to live a normal life. This will be a great relief to the parents and senior citizens. This act is also made applicable to senior citizens who are childless. The High Court of Delhi in one case appreciated the efforts of Parliament in enacting the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. So if you are a senior citizen and want to live with family go ahead. Also there is need of creating awareness among the people regarding this act and the rights which are given to senior citizens under this act.

Shweta Durge

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