NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi government has come with a new scheme specially for senior citizens, living below the poverty line. Under the proposed scheme ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ which is set to be launched next week, the senior citizens will get free assistive devices like hearing aids and wheelchairs.
A senior official of the ministry of social justice and empowerment said that the main purpose of the scheme is to bring the older people from the economically weaker sections into active life and build an aged-friendly society by providing them with devices to maintain near normalcy in morbidity.
The scheme will be launched at a camp in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district on March 25 by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot and union minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will get walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, tripods, spectacles, hearing aids and dentures among others. Officials said that the government wanted to roll out the scheme in January, but had to postpone it in view of the assembly elections in five states.
There are 10.38 crore senior citizens in the country as per the Census of 2011 and 5.2 per cent of them suffer from some sort of old age-related disability.
Officials said that similar camps will be organized in many other parts of the country once the scheme will be launched on March 25. A similar camp will be organised on March 26 in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain district.
Under the initial plan, assistive devices will be distributed among 2,000 identified beneficiaries for free in each camp. “The camps will be organised in two districts of each state for the whole year. The minister, in December last year, had written to all the chief ministers to identify the beneficiaries in those districts," the official added.
Officials said that the devices will be of high quality and conform to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards. To avail the facilities under the scheme, a beneficiary should be of at least 60 years and will have to be certified by competent authority as a person living below the poverty line.
The department had suggested three names for the scheme out of which the Prime Minister's Office has given nod to 'Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojna'. The scheme aims to address the disabilities like low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and locomotor disability.