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Old Is Gold

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Old Is Gold

The Modi government has decided to lend more teeth to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Draft Bill, 2018, to protect senior citizens from abuse by their own children. The proposed amendments include increasing the jail term for those who abandon or abuse their elderly parents to six months from the existing three months. Further, the government has proposed widening the definition of children to include adopted or step children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and minors represented by their legal guardians. By broadening the ambit of responsibility, the government has sent out a strong message that as a society, we need to value our elders and not treat them as a human resource with an expiry period. The draft Act also proposes doing away with an upper limit of Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance amount, making it variable. The logic is simple, those who can afford should shell out more. But all this action needs to be backed up by awareness drives because most senior citizens are still not aware that they can  approach a Maintenance Tribunal in case their children neglect or refuse to fulfill their legal obligation. A  HelpAge India study last year found that 50% of the elderly surveyed reported being abused by their own. Meanwhile, we must consider that if a Mahathir Mohamad could win a mandate to lead Malaysia at 92, there’s much by way of experience that senior citizens can contribute to the country’s growth dividends rather than just being care-givers or home supervisors. It is of utmost importance that we protect their dignity and independence and enhance their productive value in society.  

 
 
 
 
 

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