Constitutional Protection :

Art. 41: Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases : The State shall, within the limits of economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

Art. 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of senior citizens and other weaker sections: The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

However, these provision are included in the Chapter IV i.e., Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, as stated in Article 37, are not enforceable by any court of law. But Directive Principles impose positive obligations on the state, i.e., what it should do. The Directive Principles have been declared to be fundamental in the governance of the country and the state has been placed under an obligation to apply them in making laws. The courts however cannot enforce a Directive Principle as it does not create any justifiable right in favour of any individual. It is most unfortunate that state has not made even a single Act which are directly related to the elderly persons.

Governmental Protections:

  1. The Government of India approved the National Policy for Older Persons on January 13, 1999 in order to accelerate welfare measures and empowering the elderly in ways beneficial for them. This policy included the following major steps:
    • Setting up of a pension fund for ensuring security for those persons who have been serving in the unorganized sector,
      Construction of old age homes and day care centers for every 3-4 districts,
      Establishment of resource centers and re-employment bureaus for people above 60 years,
      Concessional rail/air fares for travel within and between cities, i.e., 30% discount in train and 50% in Indian Airlines..
      Enacting legislation for ensuring compulsory geriatric care in all the public hospitals.

  2. The Ministry of Justice and Empowerment has announced regarding the setting up of a National Council for Older Person, called age well Foundation. It will seek opinion of aged on measures to make life easier for them.
  3. Attempts to sensitize school children to live and work with the senior citizens. Setting up of a round the clock help line and discouraging social ostracism of the older persons are being taken up.
  4. The government policy encourages a prompt settlement of pension, provident fund (PF), gratuity, etc. in order to save the superannuated persons from any hardships. It also encourages to make the taxation policies elder sensitive.
  5. The policy also accords high priority to their health care needs.
  6. According to Sec.88-B, 88-D and 88-DDB of Income Tax Act there are discount in tax for the elderly persons.
  7. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has also been providing several schemes for the benefit of aged persons, i.e., Jeevan Dhara Yojana, Jeevan Akshay Yojana, Senior Citizen Unit Yojana, and Medical Insurance Yojana.
  8. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapayee was instrumental in launching ‘Annapurna Yojana' for the benefit of aged persons. Under this yojana unattended aged persons are being given 10 kg food for every month.
  9. It is proposed to allot 10 percent of the houses constructed under government schemes for the urban and rural lower income segments to the older persons on easy loan.