Amendment bill to increase maintenance amount to senior citizens to be taken up in parliament’s monsoon session
The Centre is expected to take up the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) bill, 2019, during the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament, which began on Monday. The bill was listed as one among the 29 bills that were likely to be taken up during the session, the Union ministry of parliamentary affairs said on July 18 (Sunday), a day before the session commenced.
The amendment bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2019 but is yet to be cleared by the Parliament. The bill was intended to provide for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens ensuring their overall physical and mental wellbeing.
After the two waves of Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the government expects to pass the bill in the parliament during the monsoon session to ensure the well-being of senior citizens. The bill introduces some major amendments to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007.
Here is a list of all major amendments proposed in the bill:
- Under the new bill, the definition of the children has been expanded to include biological and adopted sons, daughters, step children, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, grandson, granddaughter and legal guardian of minor children.
- Likewise, the definition of parent would now include biological and adoptive father and mother, grandparents, father-in-law and mother-in-law as well.
- The term “maintenance” has been defined as provision for food, clothing, housing, safety and security, medical attendance, healthcare and treatment necessary for the parents to lead a life of dignity. According to the 2007 law, maintenance only included the provision for food, clothing, residence and medical attendance and treatment.
- In a major amendment, the bill seeks to remove the upper limit of ₹10,000 as the monthly maintenance amount. Earlier, in the 2007 act, the maximum limit was set at ₹10,000 per month. If the amendment bill is passed and becomes a law, senior citizens might receive more than the amount.
- However, the tribunal to look after these affairs, would consider the standard of living of the parent or the senior citizen, their earnings and also the earnings of the children or the person responsible.
- While the 2007 act requires the children to pay the maintenance amount within 30 days of the order by the tribunal, the current amendment bill seeks to reduce that time limit to 15 days.
- The amendment bill also says that children who abandon their parents, as defined by the bill, shall be sentenced to a prison term ranging between three and six months and also a penalty of up to ₹10,000 or both.