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Govt plans PM special scheme for medical care of elderly

The Union government is set to launch a new scheme ‘PM Special’ to provide affordable medical care to elderly at the doorstep, people familiar with the development said.

The Centre is planning to train 100,000 geriatric care-givers over the next three years as part of the scheme. Geriatric care is the area of medicine that is focused on health care of elderly people.

While the Union ministry of social justice and development is likely to start the training programme within a week, the online portal through which the facility will be available for the general public will be launched in September, officials in the ministry said.

“The requirements of the geriatric professionals have not been properly met so far. Either there are not adequately trained persons or professionally trained persons. And due to this, people who require attention are not in safe hands,” said R Subrahmanyam, secretary, ministry of social justice and development. “Besides, the service has also become very costly. Here, we will lay down certain standards in terms of quality of training and charges will also be affordable.”

Subrahmanyam added: “Right now if anyone wants a geriatric caregiver at their home, they have to go through many channels. Sometimes they are not properly trained and also, they charge a lot. But we are bringing in a very systematic training programme which is approved by the health ministry. The training will be given by professionals.”

Anybody who has completed education till Class 12 will be able to apply for training under the scheme, the secretary said. “At least 10,000 people from SC, ST, and other marginalised communities will be trained free of cost,” he said. “The database of the trained people will be uploaded on a portal and anyone who wants a geriatric caregiver will be able to login and check the availability. It will be like an electronic marketplace for geriatric care.”

Officials at the ministry said the scheme is likely to bring down the cost of geriatric care service in India. “But more importantly the intent is to provide quality care to the elderly. The scheme will also provide employment to around 1 lakh (100,000) people,” said a senior official.

The ministry runs several schemes for elderly including a scheme on re-employment with dignity. Hindustan Times

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