The state government has decided to reduce the age to attain senior citizenship from the current 65 years to 60 years.
This means more elderly in the state can avail the benefits of the state’s schemes such as old-age allowance, free treatment at government hospitals and free travel on State Transport buses.
The announcement was made in the state assembly by social justice minister Rajkumar Badole on Tuesday during a debate on a calling attention notice on the delay in implementation of the senior citizens’ policy declared by the previous Congress-NCP government in 2013.
There are 1.16 crore citizens in the state above the age of 65. The number will increase further with the government lowering the age to be in the senior citizens category.
In reply to queries by legislators, Badole said the government would reduce the age requirement for senior citizen to 60 years as done by the central government.
“The decision will come into effect from March 2016,” said Badole.
Financial provisions would be made for the purpose in the state budget in the coming financial year, he said. He also said the government was considering an increase in the senior citizen allowance being given to them. Currently, senior citizens are given an old-age allowance of Rs600 a month.
Badole also said the state government would take a decision in the next three months to form a state council for senior citizens to hear their grievances.
Ashish Shelar of BJP sought to know whether the government has intends to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and when the State Council for Older Persons would be set up.
Replying to that, Badole said: “A decision regarding the Awareness day will be taken in three months and the council will be set up within a month.”
(Inputs from PTI)