Policies, schemes, laws in India relevant for the dementia domain

This page is part of the section Resources for volunteers. Use the menu option on top, or the right sidebar, to see the other pages in this section.

[While this page is periodically updated, it is not possible to ensure it contains all correct and up-to-date information. Please write to me if you have any suggestions on any inclusions/ 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:

National Dementia Policy / National Dementia Strategy/ Dementia India Report 2010/ Dementia India Strategy Report 2018

India does not yet have a National Dementia Policy from the Govt of India, 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 for many years. A set of such discussions were held in 2009; see some reports on these here: National Dementia Strategy.

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.

In May 2017, the World Health Organization published the Global Action Plan on Dementia Call for Action 2017-2025 which mandates all governments to come up with a country plan for dementia by 2025. ARDSI then began a series of region-wise national consultative meetings to come up with a national strategy document leading to a country plan. The document they prepared was presented to the Union Government in September 2018 and the the Hon. Health Minister Shri J P Nadda who received it gave a public assurance that the central government would soon come out with a country plan for dementia. The submitted document can be viewed at ARDSI’s site at: Dementia India Strategy Report 2018

While all this work has been done and more is in progress, as of June 2020 there is no published/ released National Dementia Strategy/ National Dementia Policy from the Govt of India. The published, official reference documents remain the released Dementia India Report 2010. and the Dementia India Strategy Report 2018, both from ARDSI.

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Mental Health Care Act

A very important Act that affects dementia care is the Mental Health Care Act 2017 which was passed in April 2017 and came into in 2018. ( as per this notification).The act can be downloaded from this link (PDF file).

The Act defines mental illness in clause 2(s) as

“mental illness” means a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognise reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs, but does not include mental retardation which is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person, specially characterised by subnormality of intelligence.

As per experts, this definition includes dementia, and so persons working in the dementia domain need to be familiar with this Act and how it may impact them. Persons starting an initiative need to check what this Act may imply for their project.

The Act is particularly relevant for any care home where one or more person may have dementia, and lays down some essential requirements for such places.

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Various Central Govt. initiatives in India related to supporting dementia

The main initiatives in India aimed at elder care/ support and health come under some key ministries and may include some specific dementia-related initiatives in them. These are:

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has some schemes for senior citizens under their Senior Citizen Division.
    • The ministry handles the Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) is a central sector scheme to to improve the quality of life of the Older Persons, and under the . 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 ministry also handles matters related to formulation of Policies, Acts, Schemes etc.on the issues concerning the Senior Citizens. The work includes reporting on Senior Citizens Welfare Funds(SCWF), work on The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act (available here), Notification of National Council for Senior Citizens, Details of Members of National Council of Senior Citizens, Grants released, List of NGO’s, etc.

    View details at the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment . Some amendments are also under consideration, such as 2018 amendment to MWPSC which can be seen here.

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has a National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE). This scheme 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. Look for the document at/ download it from the site of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare or their page National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly(NPHCE). (Update: July 2020: Note that the main Health ministry site is now at https://main.mohfw.gov.in/ (and the earlier https://mohfw.gov.in/ focuses on COVID-19 )
  • The Ministry of Rural Development has a National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP) , under which there are various schemes which include Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) . These schemes may 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.
  • The Income Tax Department has some support for elder health care 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. Many chronic conditions are covered. The provisions with every budget, and may have some requirement of proofs or certificates to avail the provisions.
  • Acts and schemes for disabilities may include dementia. See the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment work for disability at their site, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, such as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 . Disabilities seem to include both mental illnesses as well as chronic neurological conditions, and thus may include dementia.
  • Guidelines or requirements for senior housing schemes are may also be useful as these are the minimum that need to be met for residential care for persons with dementia. In this context, guidelines issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (Feb/ March 2019) and can be seen at Model Guidelines for Development and Regulation of Retirement Homes.
  • Kerala state has issued some guidelines,manuals (prepared for The Government of Kerala, Department of Social Justice) that may be useful for those considering old age homes: Manual on Old Age Homes and Notification on guidelines for running homes for senior citizens and protection of life and property of seniors housed in various senior citizen homes.

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Links to find up-to-date information

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:

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.

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Some important reports related to the elder domain

There are some entities hat publish reports on areas related to the status and support for seniors, and are an input input for the Government of India and for anyone working in healh care, social empowerment, and elder care (including dementia). Some suggestions for this are:

A complation of some possibly useful reports can be seen at Sailesh Mishra’s slideshare

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Pages in this section:

Resources: If you want to help caregivers/ spread dementia awareness

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!

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