Is your state a laggard ?

Did you know that our state governments have a target to generate a certain amount of renewable energy every year? Not very surprisingly, most of states have not met these targets. [1]

The Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) that sets these targets does not do much to enforce them. So our state governments ignore them and we suffer from power shortage. The Ministry of Power can change this obligation into a mandatory law.

You should send an email to the power minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, asking him for a strong policy that makes your state meet its renewable energy targets.




The fight against power-cuts has already begun. People in Delhi are asking their Chief Minister for a renewable energy policy. Once Jyotiraditya Scindia starts getting our emails, he’ll realise that people in every State want him to make renewable energy available to them.

We pay so much for electricity and yet we have to face frequent power-cuts. Last year half the country had no electricity because certain states withdrew more power than they were supposed to from power grids.[2] You know that the coal that powers these grids destroys forests, livelihoods and wildlife.

We can save ourselves from all this if our states take RE seriously. It’s not impossible. I lived in a forest for a whole month [3] using solar power. Remote villages in Bihar have electricity through renewable sources. Surely, other states can do the same.

Write to the power minister now to make your state a leader in renewable energy usage.







Picture of Brikesh Singh

Brikesh Singh
Greenpeace India



Benefits available to Senior Citizens in India



I. Transportation:

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

i) Reservation of two seats for senior citizens in front row of the buses of the State Road Transport Undertakings. 

ii) Some State Governments are giving fare concession to senior citizens in the State Road Transport Undertaking buses and are introducing Bus Models, which are convenient to the elderly.

Under Delhi Transport Corporation:

1. Special Hire Service: – Apart from the normal services, the Corporation also provides buses to the Citizen of Delhi on Special Hire for marriage parties, picnics, etc.

2. Free/Concessional Passes: –  DTC also offers Free Passes to disabled persons, war-widows & their dependents, eminent sport personalities, Freedom Fighters etc. and Concessional Passes to various categories of commuters viz. Students, Senior Citizens, Residents of Resettlement Colonies, Journalists, etc.

For Senior citizens above the age of 60 years, Bus pass for all routes at Rs. 50 per month. Income has to be below Rs. 75000 per year.

Ministry of Railways:

1. Indian Railways  provide  30% concession in all classes and trains including Rajdhani/Shatabadi trains  for both males and females  aged 60 years and above.

2. Indian Railways also have the facility of separate counters for Senior Citizens for purchase/booking/cancellation of tickets.

3. Wheel Chairs for use of older persons are available at all junctions, District Headquarters and other important stations for the convenience of needy persons including the older persons.

4.. Ramps for wheel chairs movement are available at the entry to important stations.

5. Specially designed coaches with provisions of space for wheel chairs, hand rail and specially designed toilet for handicapped persons have been introduced.

Ministry of Civil Aviation:

1.  Indian Airlines is providing 50 per cent Senior Citizen Discount on Normal Economy Class fare for all domestic flights to Indian senior citizens who have completed the age of 65 years in the case of male senior citizens and 63 years in the case of female senior citizens subject to certain conditions.

2.  Air India is offering discount of 55% to senior citizens of 60 plus on flights to USA, UK and Europe on economy class. Further, Air India has now decided to reduce the age of 60 plus for discount on their domestic routes as well with immediate effect.  For Identity card, 2 passport sized photographs have to be submitted along with the form.

3.  Sahara Airlines is offering 50% discount on basic fare for travel on its domestic flights only to senior citizens who have attained the age of 62 years.  Discount is applicable in economy class only.

4. Kingfisher Airlines offers discount in Business class only for citizens of 65 years or above on sectoral basis. Age proof required.

5. Jetlite offers a discount of 50% on economy class for citizens of 65 years or above. One passport sized photograph required on the form along with age proof.

6. Jet Airways offers discount to senior citizens of 65 years or above.

For availing discount in domestic flights, senior citizens have to fill up a discount form along with a passport sized photograph and Age proof certificate. Jet Airways also provides Senior Citizen I-Card which is available in all ticket counters and requires 2 passport sized photographs and age proof certificate. For the I-Card a very nominal amount is charged.

II. Telecommunications:

i) Faults/complaints of senior citizens are given priority by registering them under senior citizens category with VIP flag, which is a priority category.

ii)  Senior citizens are allowed to register telephone connection under N-OYT Special Category, which is a priority category.
iii) MTNL in NCR offers a discount of 25% on Rs. 250 per month Plan. Age limit is 65 years or above.

III. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:

i) Under the Antyodaya Scheme, the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families which also include older persons are provided food grains at the rate of 35 kgs. per family per month. The food grains are issued @ Rs.3/- per kg. for rice and Rs.2/- per kg. for wheat.   The persons aged 60 years above from the BPL category were given priority for identification.

(ii)  Under the Annapoorna Scheme being implemented by the States/UT Administration, 10 kgs. of food grains per beneficiary per month are provided free of cost to those senior citizens who remain uncovered under the old age pension scheme.

iii) Instructions to State Governments for giving priority to the Ration Card holders who are over 60 years of age in Fair Price Shops for issue of rations.

IV. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare:

1. Separate queues for elderly persons in hospitals for registration and clinical examination.

2. Special Clinics, every Sunday between 10 am to 12 noon, for elderly persons available at the following hospitals in New Delhi.

a) Lok Nayak Hospital
b) GTB Hospital
c) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital
d) Aruna Asafjahan Ali Hospital
e) Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital
f) Dr. Joshi Memorial Hospital
g) Babu Jagjeevan Ram Hospital
h) Ram Rao Tula Memorial Hospital
i) Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital

The services include health check-ups, operations, treatment of physically invalid, gynecology, ENT and ophthalmology along with pathological and radio therapy facilities.

V. Income Tax (Ministry of Finance):

1. For senior citizens the exemption limit is Rs. 2,50,000 up to which senior citizen pays no income-tax at all. The benefit of higher exemption limit for a senior citizen is available only when a person has completed 60 years of age.

2. The senior citizen should also take full advantage of section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 whereby deduction up to Rs. 1.00 lakh is available for investment by way of insurance premium, repayment of the housing loan or investment in Senior Citizens Savings Scheme as also the Bank Fixed Deposit.

3. Similarly as also the Bank Fixed Deposit. Similarly, the citizen can also take advantage of the Mediclaim Policy. In case senior citizen or any member of his family suffers from serious medical problem of suffers from some disability he can claim certain other deductions under the tax law.


1. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry responsible for welfare of the Senior Citizens. It has announced the National Policy on Older Persons which seeks to assure older persons that their concerns are national concerns and they will not live unprotected, ignored and marginalized. The National Policy aims to strengthen their legitimate place in the society and to help older people to live the last phase of their life with purpose, dignity and peace. The National Policy on Older Persons inter alia visualizes support for financial security, health care and nutrition, shelter, emphasis upon education, training and information needs, provision of appropriate concessions, rebates and discounts etc. to Senior Citizens and special attention to protect and strengthen their legal rights such as to safeguard their life and property.   The National Policy on Older Persons confers the status of senior citizen to a person who has attained the age of 60 years.

2. The Ministry is also implementing following schemes for the benefit of Senior Citizens:

(a) An Integrated Programme for Older Persons (Plan Scheme) – This Scheme has been formulated by revising the earlier scheme of “Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Programme relating to the Welfare of the Aged”.  Under this Scheme, financial assistance up to 90% of the project cost is provided to NGOs for establishing and maintaining Old Age Homes, Day Care Centers, Mobile Medicare Units and to provide non-institutional services to older persons. 

(b) The Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Voluntary Organizations/Self Help Groups for Construction of Old Age Homes/Multi-Service Centers for older persons (Non Plan Scheme) – Under this Scheme, one time construction grant for Old Age Homes/Multi-Service Centre is provided to non-governmental organizations on the recommendation of the State Governments/ UT Administrations.

VII. Ministry of Rural Development:

1. Under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, Central Assistance of Rs. 75/- p.m. is granted to destitute older persons above 65 years.  This Scheme has been transferred to the State Plan w.e.f. 2002-03.

2. Under the Annapurna Scheme, free food grains (wheat or rice) up to 10 kg. per month are provided to destitute older persons 65 years or above who are otherwise eligible for old age pension but are not receiving it.

If you know more, please comment and add to the list. If there are any discrepancies, please highlight them.

Save your food – email Jaipal Reddy

The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill has been introduced in Parliament again.[1] This dangerous bill will create a body that will single-handedly allow the entry of genetically modified (GM) crops into our country.

We’ve stopped this bill for three years, and now the government has introduced it on the sly. Our demand is the same. Minister of Science and Technology, Jaipal Reddy, who introduced this bill, needs to drop this bill right now.

You should ask Jaipal Reddy to drop the BRAI bill because it poses a threat to our food safety.




Farmers, scientists and over four lakh people have been opposing the BRAI bill. Opposition was seen inside Parliament as well. Minister Jaipal Reddy is receiving fax messages already and soon he’ll start getting your emails with the same demand. All this will encourage him to act.

The BRAI bill is riddled with faults.[2] There is no provision for proper a safety assessment of GM crops. It overrides the Right to Information Act and does not allow people to question its decision. It looks like BRAI is being created to shove GM food onto our plates.

This fight to keep our food safe has been won by us before. We’ve been successful in keeping away GM food from our country for ten years! Our massive opposition resulted in a moratorium on Bt brinjal.[3]We even stalled BRAI for three years. So let’s do this once again.

Ask Minister Jaipal Reddy to drop the BRAI bill now!








Picture of Neha Saigal

Neha Saigal
Greenpeace India





Certain provisions of 97th amendment unconstitutional

Gujarat High Court on Monday declared certain provisions of the 97th amendment to the Constitution of India, dealing with cooperative societies, as unconstitutional and ordered them to be quashed.
The judgement was passed by Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rajendra Shah of Consumer Protection Analytic Committee (CPAC ), claiming that Union of India has no legislative competence to enact Law for co-operative society which is exclusively a state subject under the Constitution of India.

Click Here for the report

Click Here for the judgement

Click Here for some insights and considered views

Training seminar for Co-operative Housing Societies on 28th April

A new era of co-operation has begun, with professionalism and law-abiding functioning, from Accounting Year 2013-14. It is upto us to take study and understand, and adapt to the new legal changes brought into the co-operative sector by the recently enacted 97th Constitutional Amendment. If we do so, we will reap many benefits in the form of harmonious living and orderly functioning. However, if we neglect to understand the new laws and rules, the consequences can be painful.

Remember, knowledge is power. Also remember, ignorance may be bliss, but when the time comes for punishment, ignorance of the law is not an excuse!

Some changes may still be expected in the amended Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, as it is now before a select committee of the State Legislature, to be tabled before legislature in the monsoon session. But as it is, MCS Act stands amended already, and we broadly know the shape of things to come. Therefore, it is crucial to understand and prepare for the changed scenario.

MAHARASHTRA SOCIETIES WELFARE ASSOCIATION (MSWA) HAS ORGANIZED A FULL-DAY BASIC TRAINING PROGRAM IN CHS LAWS i.e. Various implications of 97th Constitutional Amendment, Amended Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, and Model Bye-laws

DATE & TIME: Sunday, 28th April, 9.30 am To 6.15 pm.

VENUE: MSWA, A-2/302, Laram Centre, Opp. Platform 6, Andheri West, Mumbai.


  • Managing committee members of Housing Societies, as they will have to make many adjustments in their style of working due to sweeping changes in the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (MCS) Act, 1960 and New Model Bye-laws. Henceforth, elections must be held under supervision of the State Co-operatives Election Authority, and statutory returns need to be filed to the Registrar, failing which the managing committee will be disqualified and debarred.
  • Society members with grievances, as they can get speedy relief owing to extension of Right to Information to co-operative societies, and also Grievance Redressal and Dispute Resolution Committee to be appointed. But first, they will have to understand their new rights and duties!
  • Ordinary members & associate members, who are required to actively participate in the society’s affairs, failing which they may forfeit various rights and privileges.
  • Women, who will enjoy two reserved seats on the managing committees, as against one formerly. But they must earn the respect of the men on the managing committee by getting thorough knowledge of the various aspects of running a housing society.
  • Members of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, etc., who will get three reserved seats – enabling active participation in their society’s governance.
  • Chartered Accountants, Advocates, Tax Practitioners, Society Managers and other professionals, who will play an expanded role in housing societies. They will have fresh avenues for earning by rendering new service, but they must understand their statutory responsibilities and legal liabilities, and also guide the office-bearers. Professionals must have a thorough grip of new laws and rules.

REGISTRATION FEES – Rs 1,900/-per head.


(i) Two or more members attending from the same society – Rs 1,500/- per head
(ii) Housewives and Retired Persons 
— Rs 1,300/- per head

(iii) PLUS EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT: 10% discount on applicable fees for above-mentioned fees if you register on or before 21st April.

Fees are inclusive of lunch, tea and snacks & printed notes i.e. gist of MCS Act & Bye-laws, plus copy of Amended MCS Act & Bye-laws on CD.

FACULTY: Well-known experts & activists on co-operative housing societies, retired officers of co-operation department, etc.

To register, contact Mr Vishal Bamne on 9823911027 or 42551414, or email on


  • Historical background of co-operative movement, land owners’ societies & housing societies
  • Objectives & scope of 97th Constitutional Amendment
  • MCS (Amendment) Ordinance 2013
  • New features of amended MCS Act 1960, their Impacts on co-operative enterprises and on housing societies
  • New model bye-laws for CHS, highlights & impacts
  • Positive & negative effects of the recent amendments on various stakeholders
  • Further changes in MCS Act in near future — What is needed, what is likely scenario
  • Members’ rights & responsibilities — active members, associate members, nominal members, etc.
  • Managing committee & office-bearers duties & responsibilities
  • Audit, AGM, Election Authority& Election Rules, filing of Annual Returns & consequences of non-compliance
  • Seat Reservations for Women, SC/ST/OBC etc. – how to implement
  • How to set up Grievance Redressal & Dispute Resolution Committee, and how it will function
  • Forums of redressal for various disputes & grievances outlined in Model Bye-laws e.g. police, consumer court, co-operative court, civil court, office of dy. Registrar – Theory & Practical Realities
  • Importance of people’s participation, how & where to make representations, how to create a public campaign to inform, educate & participate

Warm Regards,



Mis-selling by banks

Will this 79-year old’s protest move the government and the RBI to stop mis-selling by banks?

When a banker comes to your home, exploits your trust and dupes you, he is called a bankster. Why doesn’t such systematic criminal exploitation of hapless depositors move the government and the banking regulator? This 79-year old has resorted to Gandhigiri to get justice

In the past couple of days 79-year old Mangelal Sharma goes to his bank (IndusInd Bank, Preet Vihar Branch, New Delhi) wearing a specially made T-shirt. It carries his photograph and says “BEWARE IndusInd Bank is a cheat. It has cheated me and may cheat you”. He says there was a lot of commotion when he first walked in and some said that they too had been cheated by the bank. On Saturday he wore the T-shirt and danced at the branch singing “Kya mil gaya sirkar toomhen meri FD (fixed deposit) toodake, mujhe mutual fund mein fansa ke, mujhe choona lagakey”. This parody of this song from the film Kissa Kursi Ka has Mr Sharma asking the bank what it achieved by entrapping him to invest in a mutual fund.

The story behind this protest will make you furious. It is about how banks have turned into banksters and send out armies of managers to entrap, con and lure trusting account holders to invest their saving in instruments that earn them a high return.

 Click Here for this scary story of scamster banks cheating senior citizens

Understanding Educational Loans

Education is expensive and Higher education is all the more expensive especially foreign education. Hence the need for education loan, which is a  financial aid given to meritorious but needy students for meeting the expenses of their higher education in India or abroad. In this article we shall explain education loan, what it is, process of getting education loan, repayment, tax benefits under section 80E.

Here is a good article which answers the following questions :

What is education loan?

Who gives out education loans?

What is covered under the loan?

What is eligibility criteria for an educational loan ?

What is the maximum amount lent by the bank?

What is the interest applicable on Educational loans?

Where can the loan be availed from ?

Does one need to provide a guarantor or any other kind of security?

Are there any other fees applicable while taking this loan?

What are the documents required while applying for the loan?

How much time does it take for education loan to be sanctioned?

How is the loan amount disbursed?

When does the repayment of the loan starts?

Are there any tax benefits for educational loans?

What is education loan subsidy scheme?

Is there a penalty for pre-payment?

Is there any documentation required post the sanction of the loan ?

If one is unable to pay loan?

What happens if one takes a break from studies?

What if one doesn’t get a job?

Click Here for this interesting and useful article