The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation's permanent secretary, Mr Govind Sami said the agreement between the Government and the Fiji Bus Operators Association now means that 50 per cent concessions on bus fares will be available to all elderly persons over the age of 60 and free bus fare for people with disability.
"The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation through its District Offices is now distributing the forms. Each applicant is expected to submit an original copy of their birth certificate and two passport sized photos," Mr Sami said.
"The forms will then be used to assess the eligibility of the individual. I'm talking about the people in the elderly category and then ID cards will be issued. For those that are in the disabled category, the ministry will work with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons.
The council has offices in all the districts where the Provincial Administrators or the District Officers are the chairpersons and they will certify that these people are disabled. Based on that certification, ID cards will be issued to them."
Mr Sami said a number of applicants should get their ID cards by March.
"We are hoping to close the first round of selection of the forms around 28th of February and then start preparing ID cards for distribution. We hope that by mid March we will have a large number of ID cards distributed," Mr Sami added.
The forms can also be downloaded from the Social Welfare and the FNCDP websites.
Mr Sami said the concessions is a gesture from the bus operators in return for the concessions handed by Government.
He said there will be two different sets of ID cards available for the two categories of recipients.
"The elderly people will have a yellow ID card whereas people with disability will have a red ID card. That will be then for the drivers to differentiate because the elderly will have a 50 per cent concession while those carrying the red card, will have free travel on the busses," Mr Sami said.
"The ID card will not have an expiry date. It will continue. If you are over 60, you are eligible till the agreement is in place. We are hoping that in a few years time, we will have a national ID card which will make it even easier."
Mr Sami said this assistance is provided to make the life of the poor, needy and the elderly easier.
All applications will be processed by the MSWWPA and incomplete application forms will not be considered.
The Ministry will rely on its existing Social Welfare database of senior citizens 60 years and above along with FNCDP database. New applications will be added onto these two databases.