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Chapter # 33. Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Transgender Persons



  • To ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for senior citizens, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the nation building process.

Current Situation 

As per Census 2011,1 India had 10.38 crore senior citizens (60 years and above). Of this, 3.8 crore were above the age of 80 years. The share of the elderly in the population increased from 5.6 per cent in 1961 to 8.6 per cent in 2011. It is expected to increase to 20 per cent of the population by 2050.

Senior citizens face several challenges. They are prone to chronic illness. However, access to institutional support and specialized medical care is skewed, with most of these concentrated in urban areas and out of reach for the large number of the elderly who live in rural areas.

The government has taken steps to provide various tax benefits to senior citizens including raising the basic exemption limit from INR 2.5 lakh to INR. 3 lakh, increasing the deduction for health insurance from INR 15,000 to INR 50,000 as well as raising the deduction for bank interest from INR 10,000 to INR 50,000. The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana has also been launched to provide a maximum pension of INR 10,000 per month with an investment of INR 15 lakh.


  • Poverty and lack of income security makes it difficult to meet even basic needs like food, housing, healthcare, etc., for a large number of senior citizens.
  • There has been a rapid emergence of nuclear families and ageing parents living away from their children.
  • There is a shortage of well-trained personnel for delivering care giving and other services for senior citizens.

Way Forward 

  • Given the changing demographics and socio-economic needs, revise the National Policy for Older Persons. The policy should cover housing, income security, pension, and access to healthcare. It should also emphasize the concept of ‘ageing in place’ or ‘ageing in own home’.
  • Bring schemes pertaining to senior citizens under the restructured Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. An integrated implementation and monitoring plan should be developed in consultation with stakeholders and the plan should be reviewed periodically by an inter-ministerial committee headed by the Secretary.
  • Bring the necessary amendments to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Older Persons Act, 2007, currently under consideration by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).
  • Consider establishing an old age home in every district by 2020 and ensure adherence to minimum quality standards.
  • Expand the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly to all districts following a comprehensive evaluation of the scheme.2
  • Prioritize supply of aids and assistive devices for senior citizens below the poverty line.
  • Ensure a barrier-free environment in all public buildings, parks, etc., for the elderly.
  • Strengthen the National Institute of Social Defence and Regional Resource Training Centres to meet the rising demand for quality caregivers.



  • To create opportunities for and empower persons with disabilities (PwDs) to realize their potential and live a productive and dignified life.

Current Situation

According to Census 2011, India had 2.68 crore PwDs constituting approximately 2.21 per cent of the total population. India enacted the first legislation for PwDs in 1995, which has been replaced by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The Act is harmonized with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006, and lists 21 categories of disabilities. India also formulated its first National Policy for PwDs in 2006.

PwDs face several challenges.3 According to the Census 2011, 27 per cent of disabled children between the ages of 5-19 had never attended an educational institution. Only 50 per cent of the disabled population in the 15-59 years category was working.

They also tend to be stigmatized and discriminated against and lag behind others with respect to access to basic infrastructure and opportunities for economic participation.

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwDs) has the overall responsibility for implementing several schemes; however, utilization of funds has been a challenge.


  • Accurate identification of the disabled population in India has been a major problem. People tend to hide their disability to avoid facing social stigma.
  • Beyond Census statistics, there is a lack of appropriately disaggregated data for PwDs generated at regular intervals.4 In India, the last survey on disability was carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation in 2002.
  • Disability related issues require multi-sectoral action, which has been difficult to achieve in practice.
  • The National Institutes (NIs), Composite Regional Centres (CRCs), District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) and the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) need special attention to ensure adequacy of resources and infrastructure as well as effective monitoring of schemes.

Way Forward 

  1. Generate data on PwDs 
  • Disaggregate data by sex, age and socio-economic status in order to identify reliable and regular trends for informed policymaking.
  • Feed data collected into an electronic database for PwDs at the national level and link with the Unique Disability Identity Card.
  1. Bolster the institutional architecture and policy framework 
  • Reorient the DEPwD to focus on data collection, identifying gaps and evaluating the impact of various schemes, instead of focusing on the implementation of a large number of schemes with small budget allocations.
  • Bring programmes focused on improving specific issues related to PwDs under the purview of the relevant line ministries.
  • Earmark at least 5 per cent of the total budget of social sector ministries for schemes for PwDs.
  1. Education
  • Include courses in disability etiquette and success stories on PwDs in the mainstream curriculum to change attitudes towards PwDs.
  • Provide special education training in teacher training courses.
  • Enhance scholarships/fellowships to students with disabilities.
  • Make schools more inclusive by addressing the barriers related to the physical environment (e.g. accessible toilets), admission procedures as well as curriculum design.
  • Ensure that schools have at least one section of every class accessible under the Universal Design Guidelines.
  • Foster partnerships between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and MoSJE to promote synergies among inclusive and special schools in the government and private sectors.
  • Develop indicators for rating schools on inclusivity.
  • Include disabled friendly sports, cultural and technical programmes in schools and colleges.
  1. Healthcare
  • Provide aids and assistive devices to at least 3 lakh beneficiaries every year.
  • Conduct cochlear implant and corrective surgeries for 5000 children annually.
  • Establish 20 state spinal injury centres.
  • Set up early diagnostic and intervention centres at the district level to screen children and identify special needs or requirements for assistive devices at an early age.
  1. Employment and income generation
  • Integrate the skill development scheme with schemes of the National Trust (e.g., Disha), to address the needs of the intellectually disabled.
  • Establish dedicated training centres for PwDs to meet the requirements of the private sector.
  • Integrate initiatives of various ministries to provide skill training, soft loans and entrepreneurship  pportunities to PwDs.
  1. Institutional strengthening 
  • Upgrade NIs into centres of excellence.
  • Establish 50 CRCs in states having a population of more than 6 crore.
  • Provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to 50 lakh PwDs through the NIs and CRCs.
  • Enrol 17,000 rehabilitation personnel in various long-term courses offered by NIs and CRCs every year.
  1. Accessibility and inclusivity
  • Make the Accessible India Campaign a mass movement with the involvement of citizens and civil society.
  • Conduct awareness programmes in collab-orations with DDRCs, CRCs and Vocational Rehabilitation Centres (VRCs).
  • Incorporate universal design and accessibility standards in engineering, architecture and computer science studies.
  • Introduce the requirement of an accessibility certificate for all future commercial enterprises above a specified size in order to be awarded a completion certificate.
  • Extend the DDRC schemes to all districts.
  • Construct residential homes for disabled adults whose parents are no longer alive.
  • Adopt a life-cycle approach for community-based rehabilitation in mission mode.



  • To ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for transgender persons, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the nation building process.

Current Situation

As per Census 2011, India had 4.87 lakh transgender persons. The transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country. Extreme social exclusion diminishes their self-esteem and is a violation of their human rights. An Expert Committee constituted under the direction of the Honourable Supreme Court recommended several measures to ameliorate their problems. Following that, the “Scheme for Transgender Persons” was launched.


  • Parliament is yet to pass the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2016.
  • Accurate identification of transgender persons is a major challenge.
  • The implementation of the “Scheme for Transgender Persons” is suboptimal.

Way Forward

  • Provide for identification of transgender persons in all government and non-government records by introducing a separate column to include the third gender.
  • Sensitize communities towards the challenges and needs of transgender persons.
  • Create a forum for the active participation of transgender persons at all levels of governance.
  • Put in place institutional mechanisms to effectively implement programmes for transgender persons.
  • Determine the number of transgender persons and map their socio-economic status to design customized policy interventions. This enumeration and mapping can be carried out by the MoSJE along with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Mandate the provision of housing and community services to accommodate at least 50 per cent of transgender persons.
  • Formulate and implement a scheme for establishing residential schools in all districts for transgender persons.
  • Design a scheme for providing skill and employability training to transgender persons to integrate them with mainstream society.
  • Launch a centrally sponsored scheme to provide pension to transgender persons above 60 years.
  • Ensure Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer based implementation and monitoring of social security programmes.
  • Consider creating a fund at the national level for supporting states that have mapped out the needs of and designed the necessary policy interventions for various vulnerable sections of society including persons with disabilities, senior citizens and transgender persons in line with the relevant legislations.

Chapter # 41. Data Led Governance and Policy Making

Objectives Evidence based policy making should be made integral to the overall governance structure in New India, 2022-23. To achieve this, timely gen

Chapter # 40. Optimizing the Use of Land Resources

Optimizing the Use of Land Resources-Ensuring that land markets function smoothly, through efficient allocation of land across uses, provision of secu

Chapter # 39. Modernizing City Governance For Urban Transformation

Objective  City Governance For Urban Transformation To transform our cities into economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable habitats that p

Chapter # 38. Civil Services Reforms

Objective  civil-services-reforms To put in place a reformed system of recruitment, training and performance evaluation of the civil service to ensur

Chapter # 37. Legal, Judicial and Police Reforms

Objective To ensure the safety and security of citizens and ensure access to effective legal systems and speedy delivery of justice. Current Situation

Chapter # 36. The North-East Region

Objectives The North-East Region (NER) should: Have adequate road, rail and air connectivity, waterways, internet connectivity and financial inclusion

Chapter # 35. Balanced Regional Development: Transforming Aspirational Districts

Objective  Balanced Regional Development: Transforming Aspirational Districts Achieve balanced development in India by uplifting 115 districts, curre

Chapter # 34. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Other Tribal Groups and Minorities

SCs, STs, OBCs, De-Notified Tribes (DNTs), Nomadic Tribes (NTs) and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (SNTs) Objective  To accelerate the socio-economic developm

Chapter # 33. Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Transgender Persons

SENIOR CITIZENS  Objective To ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for senior citizens, enabling them to actively participate in econ

Chapter # 32. Gender

Objective  To create an enabling environment, sans institutional and structural barriers. To enhance the female labour force participation rate to at

Chapter # 31. Nutrition

Objectives  Under POSHAN Abhiyaan, achieve the following outcomes by 2022-23, compared to the baseline of 2015-16 (National Family Health Survey-4):

Chapter # 30. Universal Health Coverage

Objectives  On the strong platform of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY): Attain a coverage of at least 75 per cent of the population

Chapter # 29. Human Resources for Health

Objectives  Achieve a doctor-population ratio of at least 1:1400 (WHO norm 1:1000) and nurse-population ratio of at least 1:500 (WHO norm 1:400) by 2

Chapter # 28. Comprehensive Primary Health Care

Objectives  Under Ayushman Bharat, scale-up a new vision for comprehensive primary health care across the country, built on the platform of health an

Chapter # 27. Public Health Management and Action

Objectives  To revamp radically the public and preventive health system in the nation through the following strategic interventions: Mobilize public

Chapter # 26. Skill Development

Obejctives  For harnessing the demographic advantage that it enjoys, India needs to build the capacity and infrastructure for skilling/reskilling/up-

Chapter # 25. Teacher Education and Training

Objectives There cannot be a quality education system without quality teachers. Therefore, a thorough revamp of the entire ecosystem of teacher educat

Chapter # 24. Higher Education

Objectives  Increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 25 per cent in 2016-17 to 35 per cent by 2022-23. Make higher education

23. School Education

Objectives Universal access and retention: o Hundred per cent enrolment and retention at elementary education and secondary education levels; achieve

Chapter # 22. Sustainable Environment

Objective  The objective is to maintain a clean, green and healthy environment with peoples’ participation to support higher and inclusive economic

Chapter # 21. Water Resources

Objectives By 2022-23, India’s water resources management strategy should facilitate water security to ensure adequate availability of water for l

Chapter # 20. Swash Bharat Mission

Objectives The key objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission include: 1. Making India Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, 2019. 2. Carrying out ext

Chapter # 19.Smart Cities for Urban Transformation

Objectives  Leverage the ‘Smart Cities’ concept in select urban clusters to: Drive job creation and economic growth. Significantly improve effici

Chapter # 18. Digital Connectivity

Objectives Given the relevance of digital connectivity to economic growth and the need to eliminate the digital divide by 2022-23, India should aim to

Chapter # 17. Logistics

Objectives Achieve multi-modal movement of cargo on par with global logistics standards. Reduce the logistics cost to less than 10 per cent of GDP fro

Chapter # 16.Ports, Shipping and Inland Waterways

Objectives  Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways from 6 per cent in 2016-171 to 12 per cent by 2025. Incr

Chapter # 15. Civil Aviation

Objectives Enhance the affordability of flying to enable an increase in domestic ticket sales from 103.75 million in 2016-171 to 300 million by 2022.2

Chapter # 14. Railways

Objectives By 2022-23, India should have a rail network that is not only efficient, reliable and safe, but is also cost-effective and accessible, both

Chapter # 13. Surface Transport

Objectives Increasing the coverage and quality of roads and highways is critical to enhancing connectivity and internal and external trade. By 2022-23

Chapter # 12. Energy

Objectives The government’s on-going energy sector policies aim “to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”. At t

Chapter # 11. Minerals

Objectives Double the area explored from 10 per cent of obvious geological potential (OGP) area to 20 per cent.1 Accelerate the growth of the mining s

Chapter # 10. Travel, Tourism and Hospitality

Objectives  Increase India’s share in global international tourist arrivals from 1.18 per cent to 3 per cent. Increase the number of foreign touris

Chapter # 9. Housing For All

Objectives Provide every family with a pucca house, with a water connection, toilet facilities, and 24×7 electricity supply and access. Build 2.9

Chapter # 8. Financial Inclusion

Objectives Banking for the unbanked  o Bank accounts: Ensuring universal access to bank accounts, which are a gateway to all financial services.  o

Chapter # 7.Doubling Farmers’ Income (III): Value Chain & Rural Infrastructure

Objectives • Transform the rural economy through the creation of modern rural infrastructure and an integrated value chain system. • Leverage the

Chapter # 6.Doubling Farmers’ Income (II): Policy & Governance

Objectives Create a policy environment that enables income security for farmers, whilst maintaining India’s food security. Encourage the participati

Chapter # 5.Doubling Farmers’ Income (I): Modernizing Agriculture

Objectives • Modernize agricultural technology, increase productivity, efficiency and crop diversification. • Generate income and employment throu

Chapter # 4.Industry

Objectives Double the current growth rate of the manufac-turing sector by 2022. Promote in a planned manner the adoption of the latest technology adva

Chapter # 3. Technology and Innovation

Objectives India should be among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index by 2022-23.1 Five of our scientific research institutions should

Chapter # 2.Employment and Labour Reforms

Objectives Complete codification of central labour laws into four codes by 2019. Increase female labour force participation to at least 30 per cent by

Chapter # 1 Growth (India @ 75)

Objectives Steadily accelerate the gross domestic product(GDP) growth rate to achieve a target of about 8 per cent during 2018-23 This will raise the


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