Policies, schemes, laws in India relevant for the dementia domain
[This page is still under construction; please write to me if you have any suggestions on what to include, or on any corrections]
This page lists my current understanding of various discussions/ laws/ provisions at a national level that could be relevant for persons considering initiatives to support families coping with dementia (for example, by setting up services/ facilities or by helping families use available schemes to avail funds or rebates, etc.). Some links are provided. This page is not exhaustive or authoritative, just a potential starting point for interested persons. I welcome any additional data/ corrections. Thanks!
Sections on this page:
India does not yet have a National Dementia Policy, and much needs to be done to provide a sturdy, structured framework of policies and schemes related to supporting persons coping with dementia. Here is a brief recap of the current status as per my understanding. Please contact ARDSI (Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society if India)for an updated status if interested.
Discussions on a National Dementia Strategy have been held at multiple levels. A set of such discussions were held in 2009; see some reports on these here: Press Note:National Dementia Strategy Consultative Meeting of Experts ‘Western India’, First National Dementia Strategy – India meeting held in New Delhi, and National Dementia Strategy. These pages also list some of the content of the discussions and the persons involved.
In 2010, ARDSI released the landmark document, Dementia India Report 2010. This report reviewed the current status, projected how the impact of dementia would change over the next few decades, identified areas of work, and suggested priorities and actions.This was intended to be the vision document to help the Govt. of India develop a National Dementia Strategy for India. (See this comment on it by Dr. Jacob Roy: Making a national dementia strategy: The Indian experience).
To further the work toward evolving and releasing a national dementia strategy, the Dementia India Report 2010 was submitted to the relevant Govt. authorities. An update on the situation was presented by Dr. Jacob Roy Kuriakose (then Chairman, Alzheimer’s Disease International) at Cairo in November 2012: India Dementia Strategy.
Note that the national body directly working in the area of dementia in India and focused solely on dementia is (ARDSI (Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India). This body is a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease International, and has chapters across India. ARDSI is the organization to contact for updates on the policy/ strategy. Additionally, Dr. Mathew Varghese (Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry at NIMHANS), the Coordinating Editor of the Dementia India Report 2010, is the National Coordinator for the National Dementia Strategy.
As of March 2015, there is no published/ released National Dementia Strategy/ National Dementia Policy. The reference document remains the released Dementia India Report 2010.
There are three main initiatives in India, which are aimed at elder care/ support and health and include some specific dementia-related initiatives in them. These are:
- Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP): This is a central sector scheme to to improve the quality of life of the Older Persons, and under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It has been implemented since 1992 and was revised in April 2008. Financial assistance is provided under it to State Governments/ Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Urban Local Bodies and Non Governmental Organisations for running and maintenance of projects related to elders, such as setting up old age homes, day care centres, mobile units, helplines and counselling centres, etc. Day care, helpline, counseling, and old age homes for persons with dementia fall under the purview of this scheme.
The scheme details can be viewed at the ministry site at this link (the link will take you to page 1; there are multiple pages, so please navigate): An Integrated Programme for Older Persons (Revised Scheme effective from 01.04.2008).
- National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE): This scheme is under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It includes multiple ways to improve healthcare for the elderly, through better education in geriatric medicine, setting up community-based primary centres and better district centres, as well as dedicated facilities and special beds for the elderly. Initiatives to train healthcare professionals for dementia, setting aside beds for persons with dementia, and other such areas, shall fall in the purview of this national programme.
The link for the document is at this link and the entire document can be viewed/ downloaded from the site of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at: National Progrgamme for the Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE): An approach towards Active and Healthy Ageing
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) and other such schemes: These are part of the National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP) (under Ministry of Rural Development) . They can be viewed at this link. These do not have any direct, additional support for persons with dementia, but are still important because any special support for persons with dementia based on poverty or pension schemes may fall in this purview.
Some degree of support is also present in the form of tax reliefs under various categories like 80DDB or other sections that recognize expenses related to care of certain illnesses and provide rebates/ relief for expenses/ insurances around them. (Income Tax Department site). Families may need help understanding and availing such provisions.
Additional related areas have possible impact work for the dementia domain (now or in currently discussed drafts or in future revisions).
One such area is the Mental Health Policy/ Act (access the draft version of the Mental Health Act 2013 bill from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare site at this link here. The impact of this on the dementia domain will depend on how mental illness is defined and which sections of this act may be including/ excluding persons with various types of dementia, and how dementia may be seen as affecting mental capacity and other such aspects.
Another possible area is disabilities, under the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment(see disability related multiple schemes here) as disabilities may include persons with mental illness, and mental illness may be defined to include dementia.
Yet another area that may impact families coping with dementia is legislation related to Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (again under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, see the 2007 Act here), and other related legislation, in terms of how they define care, neglect, abuse, and other such concepts.
The above collection may not be complete or correct, and if you are serious about working in the dementia domain, and if you wish to understand what the Govt. of India has with respect to dementia, please investigate yourself. Some suggested departments/ links are:
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP) (under Ministry of Rural Development
Some sites list various pending bills and their status, such as PRS Legislative Research Bill Track and can be useful to check what’s being discussed and is in the pipeline.
Also, one very useful resource to use is the advanced search option for viewing press releases of the Press Information Bureau.
Pages in this section:
- Understand dementia and care in the Indian context
- Action Areas to Contribute to, and Possible Approaches
- Community-level work: A Dementia-Friendly India
- Focus: Improve Dementia Awareness
- Focus: Create Dementia Services and Products, Facilitate Support Forums
- Project ideas for students, artists, and others
This page is not an authoritative or exhaustive listing on the subject, and is provided only for information and to give concerned persons a starting point. It is based solely on data I have been able to gather, and I do not claim the information is correct or up-to-date. Please check the data directly yourself from the authoritative sites and persons. Also, I would appreciate if you share your suggestions/ corrections to help make this page more useful. Thanks!