Mumbai based geriatric care activist now starts an online petition urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance minister Arun Jaitley to scrap 18% Goods and Service Tax (GST) imposed on residential and non-residential, day care services for the elderly. My Medical Mantra on July 17 had reported how doctors and activists are up in arms with the newly introduced tax that will further add financial burden to geriatric population in India.
“You will also get old one day and that is why this fight is important. It is not about activists going against a government order, it is about everyone,” said Sailesh Mishra, president of Silver Innings, a Mumbai-based organisation working for senior citizens. He further said the recent spate of GST could imply that getting older may mean more expenditure for the family.
A family of four, closely affected by this 18% tax has also joined the cause. Bhosale family (name changed) is living in Borivali. They had been running to different places since the past few years looking for a responsible residential dementia care centre in Mumbai. Finally as they found it now, a new problem has come to the fore.
“The cost of assistance or services for the elderly is limited and expensive, already. In addition to this, GST will mean a complete change in the family budget. I pay about Rs. 20, 000/- for my mother and about the same amount for my father’s residential living. Now another 18% of tax on this will mean my family will have no money for anything else at all,” said Sachin Bhosale (name changed). Bhosale’s parents suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s respectively and hence, reside in a dementia care centre in Mumbai. This is not the case only with Bhosale’s family but for a lot of families, this 18% GST isn’t going down too well.
Before GST a residential care service ranged from Rs 500 to 1200 per day, non-residential care services was between Rs 400 to 900 per day. Post 18% GST, a family going for these services will spend around Rs 1,400 a day. “These services are generally used by family with mental health person like dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia etc or whose children are abroad etc. Also elder home which are not free will be also under GST 18%. They charge from Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a month,” added Mishra.
Mishra had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asking for the same on Monday.
“I have no idea about what must have been the intent of the government for taking this step. Personally, I will write a letter to the PM too. Old age centres are an expensive care service,” said Prasad Bhide, founder of Aarambh, a residential care centre for the elderly at Powai in Mumbai.
To sign up for the following petition, click on the link http://bit.ly/2uyGGRq