Press Trust of india

Strengthening Act on elderly high on govt's agenda

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New Delhi, Jul 2:  Strengthening a law for the security and welfare of the elderly in the country by increasing fine and jail term for those abandoning parents is one of the topmost priorities of the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in the first 100 days of the Modi 2.0 government.

The ministry, as part of amending the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has proposed to increase the jail term for those who abandon or abuse their elderly parents to six months from the existing three months, said a senior official.

The ministry will soon put the draft legislation before the Cabinet to revamp it, the official said.

The ministry has also proposed widening the definition of children to include adopted children or stepchildren, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and minors represented by their legal guardians.

Currently, the term includes only sons, daughters and grandchildren.

The draft act also proposes doing away with an upper limit of Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance amount, thus making it variable.

"Those children who have good jobs and earn well, should pay a higher amount for the upkeep of their parents," the official said.

The act in its current form makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents.

Also new clauses have been included to make it mandatory for the government to set standards for senior citizens care centres and multi-service daycare centres.

The ministry, through agencies such as Quality Control of India, would provide star ratings for old age homes so that an elderly person knows the standard of care to expect from a centre.

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