Monsoon Session 2021: Senior Citizens May Get Over Rs 10,000 For Maintenance

During this monsoon session 2021, it is likely that the government will take up the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill is part of the other bills shared by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, which will probably be taken up during this monsoon session. The monsoon session 2021 commenced yesterday.

In December 2019, the Bill concerning the maintenance of parents and senior citizens was initially approved by the Union Cabinet; however, the Parliament is yet to clear this Bill. The Bill aims at preventing people from disowning senior citizens and parents.

The Bill ensures to take care of parents and senior citizens’ basic needs, safety, security, and welfare by providing maintenance. In the wake of two destructive COVID-19 waves, this Bill aims to render more power to parents and senior citizens if it gets cleared by the Parliament in the present session.

Various changes have been introduced to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 by the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The five key points include:

  • The Amendment Bill broadens the definition concerning children. As per the Act, the definition concerning children is inclusive of children and grandchildren and excludes minors. Nevertheless, the Amendment Bill has included stepchildren, children-in-law, adoptive children, and the legal guardian concerning minor children under the definition.
  • In the Amendment Bill, the definition concerning parents does not include only adoptive, biological, and stepparents but also includes parents-in-law and grandparents.
  • In the Amendment Bill, the definition concerning maintenance has also been broadened to include the facilities concerning healthcare, safety, and security so that parents can lead a life of dignity. The definition of maintenance under the Act earlier included only providing food, residence, clothing, medical attendance, and treatment.
  • The Amendment Bill also seeks to remove Rs 10,000 as the cap for maintenance charges. In case the Bill becomes law, over Rs 10,000 can be given out as a maintenance amount. Before giving out such an award, the maintenance tribunals will need to review the earning and standard of living of a senior citizen or parent and the earnings concerning the children before determining the maintenance amount.
  • The number of days within which children and relatives need to pay the maintenance amount will also be changed to 15 days which was previously 30 days.

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