15 Dec 2012
Poor senior citizens over 80 years of age may get medical benefits up to Rs 2 lakh for their treatment in hospitals listed by the Pune Municipal Corporation.
The women and child welfare committee of the civic body has approved a proposal to increase the amount from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. The proposal has been approved even though the civic administration did not approve of it.
The civic body pays medical treatment bills up to Rs 1 lakh for very senior citizens who live below the poverty line ( BPL) with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. It has listed hospitals for medical treatment.
A Congress corporator in October had proposed that the amount be increased to Rs 2 lakh. "Very senior citizens have more medical needs. The current assistance is insufficient," the proposal mooted by the corporator said. Minal Sarwade, chairperson of the committee, said the proposal has been approved.
However, the civic administration foresees problems. "There are practical problems in implementing the scheme. Availability of birth certificates of very senior citizens would be a problem. An increase in the amount will need more funds," the civic administration said.
Sarwade said there would be no major financial burden on the civic body.
"The overall population of senior citizens is around 6% in the city. Among these very few would be above 80 years of age. The beneficiaries would number around 5,000 people," she said.
The health benefit scheme was started on January 26, 2010. As many as 44 private hospitals in the city are designated to provide medical care to the poor under the scheme.