Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY), introduced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is a comprehensive initiative aimed at empowering senior citizens in India. Read here to learn more about the ageing population of India.
There has been a steady rise in the population of senior citizens in India. The number of elderly persons has increased from 1.98 crore in 1951 to 7.6 crore in 2001, and 10.38 crore in 2011.
The projections indicate that the number of 60+ in India will increase to 14.3 crore in 2021 and 17.3 crore in 2026. A continuous increase in life expectancy means that more people are now living longer.
General improvement in the health care facilities over the years is one of the main reasons for the continuing increase in the proportion of the population of senior citizens. Ensuring that they not merely live longer, but lead a secure, dignified, and productive life is a major challenge.
Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)
In recent times, society is witnessing a gradual but definite decline in the joint family system, as a result of which a large number of parents are being neglected by their families exposing them to a lack of emotional, physical, and financial support.
- These older persons are facing a lot of problems in the absence of adequate social security.
- This reveals that aging has become a major social challenge and there is a need to provide for the economic and health needs of the elderly and to create a social milieu, which is conducive and sensitive to the emotional needs of the elderly.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has been working towards creating an inclusive and equitable society for all its citizens.
- Over the past nine years, the Ministry has launched several schemes and initiatives aimed at empowering marginalized sections of society, including students from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes through Scholarships, Elderly Citizens, Safai Karmcharis, and Transgender people.
The Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY), introduced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is a comprehensive initiative aimed at empowering senior citizens in India.
- This scheme recognizes the invaluable contribution made by the elderly to society and seeks to ensure their well-being and social inclusion.
- By recognizing the invaluable contributions of the elderly to society, the government aims to empower and uplift them, ensuring their active participation and inclusion in all aspects of life.
The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, being the Nodal Department for the welfare of senior citizens, is implementing various programs and schemes.
- National Action Plan for Senior Citizens (NAPSrc) was revamped, renamed as Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY), and subsumed in April 2021.
The main objective of the Scheme is to improve the quality of life of Senior Citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care, and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active aging through providing support for capacity building of State/ UT Governments/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)/Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) / local bodies and the community at large.
Components of Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)
Under the umbrella Scheme, Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY):
- An Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC) provides financial assistance to eligible organizations for running and maintenance of Senior Citizen Homes/ Continuous Care Homes to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, especially indigent senior citizens by providing basic amenities, entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active aging.
- Another component under the AVYAY Scheme is Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY), to provide eligible senior citizens suffering from any age-related disability/ infirmity, with assisted living devices that can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/ infirmity manifested such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and loco-motor disabilities.
- There is a national helpline number namely Elderline for Senior Citizens. A Toll-free No. 14567 was launched on 1st October 2021 to provide free information, Guidance, Emotional Support, and field intervention in cases of abuse and rescues to improve the quality of life of senior citizens.
Assistance under the scheme will be given to the Implementing Agencies such as State/ UT Governments /Panchayati Raj Institutions / local bodies and eligible Non-Governmental/Voluntary Organizations etc, for the following purposes:
- Programs catering to the basic needs of Senior Citizens particularly food, shelter, and health care for the destitute elderly;
- Programs to build and strengthen intergenerational relationships particularly between children/youth and Senior Citizens, through Regional Resource and Training Centres (RRTCs);
- Programmes for encouraging Active and Productive Ageing, through RRTCs;
- Programs for proving Institutional as well as Non-Institutional Care/ Services to Senior Citizens;
- Research, Advocacy, and Awareness building programs in the field of Ageing through RRTCs; and
- Any other programs in the best interest of Senior Citizens.
Other government schemes for senior citizens
- State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC): The Government of India perceives a major and critical role of all State Governments in partnering and implementing this Action Plan for the welfare of senior citizens. Each State/UT is expected to plan and strategize taking into account their local considerations and frame their own State Action Plans for the welfare of their senior citizens.
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY): A scheme for providing physical Aids and Assisted living devices to Senior Citizens.
- Livelihood and Skilling Initiatives for Senior Citizens: Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED); Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR Groups): Elderly Self Help groups
- Promoting silver economy: This is also a new scheme launched to encourage entrepreneurs to think about the problems of the elderly and come out with innovative solutions The Government aims to achieve the objective by providing upto Rs. 1 crore as financial assistance through equity participation, through an open invitation on a portal namely Senior care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE).
- Channelizing CSR funds for Elderly care: This is also a new scheme to channel the CSR funds appropriately for elderly care projects. Under Schedule VII of Section 135 of the Companies Act, setting up old age homes, daycare centers and such facilities for Senior Citizens is an approved item for CSR funding.
With the world aging at a rapid rate, it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 34 nations with over 20% population above 65 years.
While general health, family history, and psychosocial aspects are being studied, the need for improved and targeted integrated-care approaches that are community-based, designed around the needs of older persons, and with effective coordination and long-term care systems are critical must-haves.
This is true for every society, especially those with ageing and super-aging populations. Super-agers, the term refers to people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts.
-Article by Swathi Satish