The Central government is likely to take up The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament which started on Monday. Among a list of bills shared by the ministry of parliamentary affairs, the one designed for the welfare of the elderly is also on the union government’s agenda.
This particular bill was first approved by the union cabinet in December 2019. However, it still has not been cleared by the parliament. It aims to prevent people from abandoning their parents and other senior citizens and provides for their maintenance and welfare in order to ensure their basic needs, safety and security. Following two devastating waves of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the government is again expected to discuss the bill in the current session. If cleared, it is said to give more power to senior citizens and elderly parents.
The amendment of the bill introduces several changes to The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act that came into effect in 2007.
Below are some key amended provisions.
Recommended For You
- While under the Act, the definition of children includes sons, daughters and grandchildren, excluding minors, the amendment bill widens that definition. Now, not only biological but also step-children, adopted children, children-in-law and the legal guardians of minors are added in that definition.
- Similarly, besides biological parents, the amendment bill includes foster-parents, step-parents, parent-in-laws and grandparents as well.
- The definition of maintenance has also been expanded to include the provision of healthcare, safety and security for parents so that they can lead a life of dignity. According to the 2007 Act, maintenance only included the provision of food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.
- One of the most important changes is the removal of the cap of Rs 10,000 as maintenance charge. If the bill becomes a law, senior citizens and parents can be awarded more than Rs 10,000 as maintenance amount. Before deciding the maintenance amount, the tribunal, formed to look after these affairs, will consider the standard of living and earning of a parent or senior citizen and the earnings of the children.
- The time limit for paying the maintenance amount will be reduced from 30 days to 15 days.