03.01.03. Public long-term care system | India

03.01.03. Public long-term care system | India

06 Jul 2022

Older persons receive services from both the public and private sector. The National Sample Survey shows an increase in private and non-governmental services for older people in both hospital-based and other long-term health care (UNESCAP, 2016).

Table 3.1. The following table summarises the programmes and schemes offering care for older persons.

Name of the Scheme/ Programme Short description
The National Senior Citizen Health Scheme (Rashtriya Varishta Jan Swasthya Yojana; RVJSY)

(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare [MoHFW], 2016a)

The scheme includes support for home-based and telephone-based care, yoga therapy, screening for early diagnosis of health conditions (for those aged 75 years and older, information, education and communication activities and training for caregivers, among many other activities).
National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE)(MoHFW, 2016b)


The vision of the NPHCE is to provide accessible, affordable, dedicated and high-quality long-term, curative, and rehabilitative care services to an ageing population. It also promotes active and healthy ageing.



The Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) (Borah et al., 2016) Under this programme, the government proposes to provide financial support to homes for older persons, respite care homes and continuous care homes; the programme runs multi-service centres for older persons where it provides day care, educational and entertainment opportunities, health care and companionship; it maintains mobile medical units for older persons living in rural or isolated areas; it provides specialized care by running day care centres for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders as well as multi-facility care centres for older widows, physiotherapy clinics and help lines and counselling centres for older persons.
The Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (MSJE, 2022). This scheme provides physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens who are below the poverty line.
Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (MSJE, 2018b) This Act calls for responsibilities of the family and the state in providing care for older persons. Section 19 of the act envisages the provision of at least one old age home for indigent older persons, with a capacity of 150 persons, in every district of the country.
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) (Vikaspedia, n.d.) A pension scheme for those below the poverty line. Provides a pension of Rs. 200-500/- per month to persons above 60 years.


Source:  (Borah et al., 2016); (MoHFW, 2016a, 2016b; National Mental Health Programme, 2017; Vikaspedia, n.d.; MSJE, 2018b, 2022).

According to a 2009 directory compiled by HelpAge India, there are 1,279 old age homes in India. Of these, 543 provide services free of cost, while 237 are on a pay & stay basis. Another 161 homes have both free as well as pay & stay facilities (HelpAge India, 2016). Additionally, 214 old age homes accept medical/constant care cases and 133 homes are exclusively for older women (HelpAge India, 2016). Despite growing numbers of care homes for older people, these services are largely unregulated, making it difficult to estimate the number of homes or the number of older persons covered by formal services. It has been reported that 62.1% of the ageing population do not have access to long-term or palliative care (Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre, 2018). According to a review by the International Labor Organisation, no persons in India have legal entitlement to long-term care (Scheil-Adlung & Xenia, 2015).

Gaps are observed in terms of coverage, accessibility, and quality care in the provision of services under the public sector, which results in health care costs to be borne largely by private households (UNESCAP, 2017). National data on the proportion of the population that makes use of these services is not available.


Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre. (2018). Independence in old age – with special focus on long-term & palliative care in india. New Dehli. Available from: https://www.agewellfoundation.org/images/Independence-in-Old-Age-Long-term-n-Palliative-care-in-India-June-2018.pdf

Borah, H., Shukla, P., Jain, K., Kimar, S., Prakash, C., & Gajrana, K (2016). Elderly in India 2016. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.

HelpAge India (2016). Senior Citizens Guide. HelpAge India. Available from: https://www.helpageindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/senior-citizens-guide-2016.pdf

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (2016a). Department of Health and Family Welfare. Available from: https://main.mohfw.gov.in/sites/default/files/8072971981455275414.pdf

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (2016b). National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly.

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. (2018b). THE MAINTENANCE AND WELFARE OF PARENTS AND SENIOR CITIZENS. New Delhi.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (2022). Scheme for Welfare of Senior Citiizens. Press Information Bureau. Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1806506

National Mental Health Programme. (2017). The Mental Health Care Act. Available from: https://www.nhp.gov.in/national-mental-health-programme_pg

Scheil-Adlung, & Xenia. (2015). Long-term care protection for older persons : a review of coverage deficits in 46 countries. ILO Working Papers.

UNESCAP. (2016). Long-term Care of Older Persons in India. Available from: https://www.unescap.org/resources/long-term-care-older-persons-india

UNESCAP. (2017). Addressing the Challenges of Population Ageing in Asia and the Pacific. Available from: https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/publications/Addressing%20the%20Challenges%20of%20Population%20Ageing%20in%20Asia%20and%20the%20Pacific.pdf

Vikaspedia. (n.d.). National Social Assistance Programme. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Government of India. Available from: https://vikaspedia.in/social-welfare/rural-poverty-alleviation-1/schemes/national-social-assistance-programme#:~:text=National%20Family%20Benefit%20Scheme%20(NFBS)%20%3A%20Rs.,the%20family%20eligible%20for%20assistance