The NDA government is set to announce a new welfare scheme for senior citizens utilising the funds unlocked by amending laws relating to unclaimed deposits in the Finance Act, 2015.
According to government sources, this is one of the several laws proposed to be amended in the Finance Act by classifying it as a Money Bill. “The total amount that would be available through this appropriation is in the range of Rs 5,000 crore. A new healthcare scheme is in the works now,” a source said.
The Finance Act became a law on May 14 after it received the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee.
The sources said senior citizens (above 60 years) would be able to benefit from the welfare scheme whose launch may coincide with the government completing a year in office on May 26.
“Nearly 25-30 crore senior citizens will benefit from the new scheme,” the source said.
In the Finance Bill, 2015, the finance ministry had proposed setting up a “Senior Citizens Welfare Fund” to which will be credited funds which remain unclaimed for seven years from the date of its declaration as an inoperative account.
These could be the unclaimed funds in small savings or public provident fund accounts and any other schemes notified by the government.
The government plans to set up an inter-ministerial committee for administration of the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund. Any person who makes a claim on the deposit will have to apply to the respective institution with which the amount due was originally deposited, i.e. the post office or the bank or institution with which the PPF account was opened.
The Finance Bill, 2015, further stated that if no claim is made within 25 years of the deposit being transferred to the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund, then it shall be transferred to the government, unless a court orders otherwise.