People are adding years to their age in official documents so that they get tax, travel, health and other senior citizen benefits that follow after the age of 58. “I changed my age, when I got my passport renewed by paying the agent about Rs. 4,000,” Sunita Kakkar, a Delhi homemaker said.
Others got their ages changed in their driving licences and voter identity cards . “We are not salaried. So, once we started greying, we increased our ages for air and rail travel discounts,” said Santosh Agarwal.
Indian Railways and Indian airlines offers fare discounts to senior citizens. They are also eligible for income tax rebates.The government offers higher rates of interest on saving schemes of senior citizens, while most private banks also offer special schemes for people over a certain age. Delhi revenue minister Arvinder Singh said he is yet to come across ineligible candidates being issued senior citizen certificate on the basis of forged documents. "I will certainly get an enquiry done if any such thing is brought to my notice," Singh said.
Senior revenue department officials said there could be some cases in rural parts of Delhi, such as Najafgarh, Kapashera and Bawana, where documentation is not always available. “Though we verify the form and the affidavit there might be cases where ineligible candidates are issued certificates,” said a revenue department official.