KATHMANDU, Jan 11: The government has registered a bill in the upper house of parliament that makes it mandatory for all citizens to allocate certain percent of their incomes for the livelihoods of their elderly parents.
The bill requires that any public office bearer, employee at INGOs, NGOs and private sector, self-employed in business or other jobs including pensioners should deposit a portion of their incomes in the bank account of their elderly father or mother or their joint account. The bill registered to amend the Senior Citizen Related Act (2063 BS) has made the successors liable for bearing the financial responsibility of their elderly parents even if they were separated from their joint families.
However, the bill doesn't mention the percent of income that should be allocated for the elderly parents. The government may fix the percent to be allocated for the livelihoods of senior citizens through regulations later. The regulations will also fix the threshold of annual income for allocating a portion of it for the elderly parents. If the parents are pensioners or have an income more than the threshold, their successor will not be liable for allocating their income portion for such parents.
The bill has made it mandatory that any government or private sector employee should inform his/her employer about his/her contribution to his/her parents and also update the information at local unit concerned annually.
Any heir not taking care of their parents may not get ancestral property from their parents. “The judicial committee of the local government may transfer the property of senior citizens to the person who takes care of them if any heir or kin didn't take care of senior citizens irrespective of local unit's order,” reads the section 5 (9) of the bill.
The bill has stated that any person forcing their elderly parents to be separated from the family against their will may land in jail for up to three years and face a penalty of Rs 30,000. Similarly, any person not taking care of their parents, or forcing them to beg, trying to capture property with malafide intention or any other cruel conduct may face a jail sentence of one to five years and fined up to Rs 500,000. But the jail term will be doubled if any person involved in such conduct happens to be a public office bearer.
The local units concerned should make sure that the senior citizens are taken care of at old age homes if they are left high and dry or their successors or kin are unknown, according to the bill.
The government provides Rs 2000 per month as livelihood allowances to the senior citizens above 70 years at present. Senior citizens also enjoy a discount on public transport fare and medical fees after the implementation of the Senior Citizen Related Act a decade ago.