Senior citizens deserve a fair deal

Senior citizens in India are the most neglected people. Why is the age limit for senior citizenship not uniform? It must be 60 years for all purposes, including the Income Tax Act.

The UPA government must honour in letter and spirit the Centre’s decision in 1999 under the National Policy for Older Persons. It looks ridiculous that a 60-year-old is considered as senior citizen by banks, railways and many other departments, but the Finance Ministry Department has fixed the age of 65 under the Income Tax Act.

Senior citizens deserve some concessions and relief from the Railway Ministry. The railway concession for them should be 50 per cent instead of the present 30 per cent in all trains and all classes. They also deserve 50 per cent tariff concession in government rest houses, guest houses, holiday homes, etc.

They should be granted a minimum of 10 per cent interest on deposits in banks and post offices. The Income-Tax limit (60 years and above) should be raised from the present Rs 1.85 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. Similarly, the fair sex deserves a fair deal. The Income-Tax limit for women should be raised from the present Rs 1.35 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh. The general limit of IT exemption may be raised to Rs 2.50 lakh from the present Rs 1 lakh to cover the working class.

Senior citizens include Central and state government pensioners and family pensioners. As such pension should be exempted from income tax and other taxes as recommended by the Fifty Central Pay Commission. An immediate interim relief of Rs 1,000 a month should be granted to 33 lakh Central government employees and 35 lakh Central pensioners and family pensioners.




The Union Government deserves appreciation for introducing the Senior Citizens Bill in Parliament which provides for imprisonment of children for neglecting their aged parents. The Bill makes it compulsory for children to take care of their aged parents above the age of 60.

It also seeks to provide effective care and protection to senior citizens and will provide speedy and inexpensive legal framework to grant maintenance to senior citizens. If a person failed to take care of his parents, he can be jailed and fined up to Rs 500.

The Centre and the states will also set up old age homes and will protect the life and property of senior citizens.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala


I agree with the view that the state too must provide social security to senior citizens. Those who retired from Kurukshetra University after serving for 30 to 35 years are now leading a life of utter neglect.

The Haryana government circulated the scheme of granting pension to university employees in 1988 as a part of pay revision. Many employees, then, opted for pension. But the scheme got embroiled in administrative technicalities and was implemented only in 1995.

Those who retired between 1988 and 1995 were denied the old age pension on the ground that it would be a burden on the state exchequer. There are only 30-35 such retirees and since they have all crossed the age of 75 years, they would not be able to enjoy this benefit for more than five or six years at the most.

The government has never said that it would be a burden on the exchequer. Would the government save us from the life of penury?

PRAMOD KUMAR, Kurukshetra


In India, 90 per cent of the elderly are from the unorganised sector with no social security at the age of 60 years. About 30 per cent live below the poverty line and another 33 per cent just marginally over it. While 80 per cent live in rural areas, 73 per cent are illiterate and can only be engaged in physical labour. Shockingly, 55 per cent women over 60 years of age are widows, many of them with no support whatsoever.

With these facts staring us, what has this year’s Union Budget done for the senior citizens? A debate must start. Only construction of old age homes by NGOs will not solve the problem.


Adventure tourism at its best

The article “Religion binds” by S. R. Pundir was very interesting. The fascinating white snow-capped Choordhar hill of the Himalayan ranges is the abode of God where peace and tranquillity reign supreme. It is the abode for saints and sages.

The ancient temples, Devthi of Shirgul and Shivling, are situated at 11700 feet above sea level. It is indeed a paradise for adventure tourists and trekkers.

The panoramic beauty of Choordhar and its flora and founa are feast to the eyes of the visitors and devotees of Chureshwar Maharaj. The work done by the 500-member Chureshwar Seva Samiti under the leadership of social worker Prof A. S. Chauhan is remarkable.

The efforts of this action group and residents of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand should be supplemented by the Himachal government by creating proper infrastructure for the tourists coming from Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

Prof S. S. CHAUHAN, Nahan (HP)

Memorable journey

A journey from Shimla to Mandi and Manali via Churag is indeed memorable. Starting from Shimla, one can halt at Mashobra, Naldhera, Tatapani, Chindi-Churag, Chauki-Pandar and Rohanda.

Naldhera is known for its oldest and beautiful nine-hole golf course and Tatapani for its hot water spring. About 35 km further, tourists can visit Churag, a beautiful village at a height of 2089 meters. One can stay at HP Tourism’s Hotel Mamleshwar or the PWD rest house at Chindi.

The ancient Durga Temple depicting the fascinating hill architecture is another attraction. About 60 km further, one can visit the dense deodar forest at Chauki-Pandar. This stretch of journey reminds one of the Dalhousie-Khajjar trip (via Kalatop sanctuary).

The PWD rest house at an altitude of 2169 meters at Chauki is another nice place to stay. The Orchard resort at an attitude of 2074 meters at Rohanda should be booked in advance. It is 22 km from Mandi.


Pensioner’s plight

The Punjab government employees’ commuted pension has been revived from October 31, 2006 to 4.75 per cent instead of the earlier 8 per cent. This commutation had been reduced in April 2003.

Keeping in view the pensioners’ problems including their poor financial condition, this commutation may please be implemented with retrospective effect, i.e. from April 2003.

The Parkash Singh Badal government, which is pro-employees, should help pensioners and sanction pension commutation to those who have retired between April 2003 and October 30, 2006.

S.K. MITTAL, Panchkula



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