In old age, even a simple activity like walking might seem strenuous, and one might have to depend on assisted living devices such as walkers or walking sticks to move around.
Unfortunately, many elderly might not be in a position to afford these basic mobility devices for want of finance or poor economic condition.
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY), which was launched in 2017, works on filling this gap and provides physical aids and devices to help senior citizens who may not be able to afford them.
Anybody aged 60 and above can take benefits from this scheme by applying online on the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO) website. ALIMCO is a public sector undertaking (PSU), which works under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and it is the sole implementing agency for the RVY scheme.
The scheme was initially launched with a focus on senior citizens in the BPL category, who suffer from infirmities and other issues due to old age, such as vision problems, hearing issues, etc., and cannot afford devices to ease their problems.
However, it has since been revised in financial year 2020-21 and the coverage scope of the scheme has been extended. Under the revised scheme, senior citizens whose income in a month is not more than Rs 15,000, and who are suffering from the ailments covered under RVY can apply for the benefits.
The devices provided under the scheme fall under two categories: Generic and Special.
The generic devices include spectacles, hearing aids, walking sticks, artificial dentures, walkers, crutches, elbow crutches, and tripods and/or quadpods.
The special device for assisted living, include silicon foam cushion, knee brace, spinal support, cervical collar, lumbosacral belt (ls), rollator with brakes, walking stick with seat, wheelchair, wheel chair with commode, chair or stool with commode, and foot care kit. The foot care kit consists of flexi gel socks, socks cushion sandal, silicon insole for complete foot or ankle, and insole with pressure point relief.
To avail of the benefits of the scheme, the person should be at least 60 years old and have an Aadhaar card. If one doesn’t have an Aadhaar card, then one must have the acknowledgment number as proof of having applied for Aadhaar. In case of no Aadhaar card or acknowledgment, one must have the specified document for the purpose of ascertaining the identity.
Some of these documents include, among others, BPL ration card, proof of old age pension under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), or any other pension schemes of the state or union territory (UT) government for senior citizens.
The person’s need for a medical device has to be certified by the medical officer or the rehabilitation experts from ALIMCO. These could include disabilities, such as loss of vision, movement disability (locomotor disability), among others.
Also, to be eligible under the scheme, the person should not have received the required device from any other government source for free, including the local bodies or other undertakings controlled by the government in the last three years.
Technically, any senior citizen whose monthly income is not more than Rs 15,000, is eligible to get the scheme’s benefit by providing an income certificate from a revenue agency, or a certificate by MP, MLA, Gram Pradhan, Councillor, regarding this.
Out of the total benefits provision, 30 per cent is kept for women beneficiaries in any state or UTs.
As of now, a total of 288,928 senior citizens have benefitted from the scheme, according to information provided by the minister of state for Social Justice and Empowerment, at the beginning of this year. The highest beneficiaries were from Maharashtra, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.