Bill No. XXII of 2007
THE DESTITUTE, INDIGENT AND NEGLECTED CITIZENS (MAINTENANCE AND WELFARE) BILL, 2007
A BILL to provide for the due care, maintenance and welfare measures to be initiated by the State for those citizens who are destitute, indigent, stricken with poverty or infirmity due to old age, incurable disease or physically challenged ones, and those who are without independent source of livelihood like widows, senior citizens, orphans and underprivileged children and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—
1. (1) This Act may be called the Destitute, Indigent and Neglected Citizens (Maintenance and Welfare) Act, 2007.
(2) It extends to the whole of India.
(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
AS INTRODUCED IN THE RAJYA SABHA ON 27TH APRIL, 2007.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
(a) “appropriate Government” means in the case of a State the Government of that State and in other cases the Central Government;
(b) “Authority” means the Destitute, Indigent and Neglected Citizens Welfare Authority established under Section 3;
(c) “destitute” in relation to a,—
(i) male who may be physically challenged or unfit for gainful employment or suffering from incurable disease and without any independent source of livelihood or a senior citizen who has become infirm due to old age or chronic ailment and who has nobody to support him; and
(ii) woman who may be a widow, divorcee or unmarried woman who has no relative to support her and who has no independent source of livelihood including livelihood of her minor children dependent on her or any woman stricken with infirmity owing to old age, physical deformity, ailment, mental imbalance and who lives uncared for;
(d) “indigent” means a person who is stricken with poverty, without any means of livelihood or source of income and who subsists on alms received by him after begging;
(e) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(f) “senior citizen” means any person who has completed sixty years of age;
(g) “underprivileged children” means the deprived children with unknown parentage, abandoned, vagabond or loitering, rag pickers, and neglected children of pavement dwellers, sex worker, jail inmates, mentally ill or retarded women and who subsist on begging and petty offences;
(h) “widow” means an adult female whose husband has died after her legal marriage.
3. (1) The Central Government shall, as soon as may be, by notification in the Official Gazette, establish an Authority to be known as the Destitute, Indigent and Neglected Citizens Welfare Authority for the purposes of this Act.
(2) The Authority shall be a body corporate by the name aforesaid having perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable and to contract and shall by the said name sue and be sued.
(3) The headquarter of the Authority shall be at Jaipur in the State of Rajasthan.
(4) The Authority shall establish its branches in all the States and Union Territories at conspicuous places.
4. (1) The Authority shall consist of,—
(a) the Minister-in-charge of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment — ex-officio Chairperson;
(b) a Vice-Chairperson with such qualifications as may be prescribed, to be appointed by the Central Government;
(c) five members of Parliament of whom three shall be from Lok Sabha and two from the Rajya Sabha to be nominated by the respective Presiding Officers of each House;
(d) three members representing the Union Ministries of Women and Child Development, Planning and Finance respectively;
Establishment of the Authority.
Composition of the Authority.
(e) not more than four members to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Governments of the States, by rotation in alphabetical order, to represent the Governments of the States;
(f) three members to be appointed by the Central Government from amongst the Non-Governmental Organisations working for destitute widows, senior citizens and underprivileged children.
(2) The term of office, remuneration and other facilities of the Chairperson, Vice- Chairperson and members shall be such as may be prescribed.
(3) The Authority shall follow such procedure for holding its meeting and the quorum for such meeting shall be such as may be prescribed.
5. (1) It shall be the duty of the Authority to promote by such measures, as it thinks fit or appropriate, welfare measures for those citizens who are destitute, indigent, stricken with poverty or infirmity due to old age, incurable disease or physically challenged ones and for those who are without source of livelihood such as widows, senior citizens, orphan and underprivileged children covered under this Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the Authority shall, —
(a) maintain district wise register of the destitute, indigent and neglected citizens including the physically challenged ones, senior citizens, neglected women who may be widows, divorcee and who do not have anyone to support and the orphans and other street children;
(b) work out plans and formulate schemes for the welfare of the citizens covered under this Act;
(c) establish adequate number of senior citizen homes for board, lodging and provision of necessary facilities of daily life for the needy senior citizens;
(d) establish shelters or rehabilitation centres for the needy physically challenged citizens, orphans and street children and widows with provision of board, lodging and other necessities of daily life therein free of cost;
(e) work out scheme to provide free medical aid and means of entertainment in the senior citizen homes and shelters and rehabilitation centres established under this section.
(f) take such other measures not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act as the Authority may deem necessary for the welfare of the citizens covered under this Act.
6. The appropriate Government shall, on the recommendation of the Authority, provide the destitute women, indigent and needy senior citizens covered under this Act, the following facilities namely:—
(a) monthly allowance of two thousand rupees to every indigent and needy senior citizen in such manner as may be prescribed;
(b) monthly allowance of two thousand rupees to every destitute woman and if such a woman has dependent children to support a monthly allowance of three thousand rupees in such manner as may be prescribed:
Provided that if any woman covered under this Act either gets gainful employment or remarries, the facilities and monthly allowance being provided to her shall be discontinued and withdrawn from the date she gets the gainful employment or remarries as the case may be.
(c) residential accommodation wherever necessary, free of cost;
Functions of the Authority.
Facilities to the destitute women, indigents and senior citizens by the appropriate Government.
(d) free educational facilities including technical and vocational education to the dependent children;
(e) free medical care;
(f) gainful employment;
(g) vocational training and assistance for self employment;
(h) such other facilities as may be necessary from time to time.
7. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the local police of every district headquarter shall keep a record of senior citizens, old widows and physically challenged ones residing within its jurisdiction in such manners and with such details, as may be prescribed.
(2) It shall be the duty of the area Station House Officer or any Police officer who for the time being in charge of local Police Station or Police Post, as the case may be, to compulsorily,—
(a) verify the character and antecedents of the domestic servant or domestic help engaged or provided to the senior citizen or lonely old couple or old widow or physically challenged citizen residing within his jurisdiction in such manner as may be prescribed; and
(b) provide adequate security to the citizens referred to in para (a) above.
8. The Central Government shall, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, provide adequate funds to the Authority, from time to time, for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
9. The Authority shall submit an Annual Report in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed, of its activities of the welfare measures undertaken for the purposes of this Act to the President of India who shall cause the report to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament along with action taken thereon by the Central Government as soon as it is received.
10. If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty.
11. The provisions of this Act and rules made thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith, contained in any other law for the time being in force, but save as aforesaid the provisions of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other law for the time being in force.
12. The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
Central Government to provide funds.
Annual Report of the Authority.
Power to remove difficulty.
Act to have overriding effect.
Power to make rules.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
There are crores of destitute, indigent and neglected citizens consisting of widows, senior citizens, orphans and other underprivileged children, physically challenged ones and quite a large number of them live uncared for in our Country. They are stricken with infirmity particularly due to old age or physical deformity or serious and prolonged ailment and many of them suffer from mental imbalance. Majority of such citizens have no means to support themselves and they are ill treated by people at large. Unfortunately, the number of such citizens is increasing day by day. In a welfare state like ours it is the solemn duty of the state to take care of such destitute, indigent and neglected citizens. For this purpose an independent Authority will have to be established with sufficient funds and this Authority will be entrusted with the main function of formulating welfare schemes for such hapless citizens and implement them with sincerity and zeal.
Hence this Bill.
ABHISHEK MANU SINGHVI
Clause 3 of the Bill provides for the establishment of the Destitute, Indigent and Neglected Citizens Welfare Authority. Clause 4(2) provides for remuneration and facilities to the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and members. Clause 6 proivdes for certain facilities to be provided to the destitute women, indigent and senior citizens. Clause 8 makes it obligatory for the Central Government to provide adequate funds to the Authority for the purposes of the Bill. The Bill, if enacted, will involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. It is estimated that a sum of rupees ten thousand crore may involve as recurring expenditure per annum.
A sum of rupees five thousand crore may also involve as non-recurring expenditure.
MEMORANDUM REGARDING DELEGATED LEGISLATION
Clause 12 of the Bill gives power to the Central Government to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Bill. The rules will relate to matters of details only.
The delegation of legislative power is of normal character.
to provide for the due care, maintenance and welfare measures to be initiated by the State for those citizens who are destitute, indigent, stricken with poverty or infirmity due to old age, incurable disease or physically challenged ones, and those who are without independent source of livelihood like widows, senior citizens, orphans and underprivileged children and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
(Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, M.P.)