(Analysis) Aging India : The Rising Concern

(Analysis) Aging India : The Rising Concern

Aging IndiaRecently, a report released by the United Nations Population Fund and Help Age India to mark the International Day of Older persons (1st October) suggested that in 2011, India had 90 million elderly persons with the number expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. It is estimated that by 2050, India will be home to one out of every six of the world’s older persons.

The report reveals that the number of elderly women is more than that of elderly men and nearly three out of five single older women are very poor while two out of three rural elderly women are fully dependents. The study undertaken in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh indicates that one-fifth of the elderly live alone and this proportion has registered a sharp increase in the past two decades. This consequential change in the society has resulted due to several factors such as migration of youth due to economic reasons, nuclearization of families and declining fertility etc.

This change gives rise to a number of challenges for the elderly population: some of them can be listed as follows:

(i) Protection of life and property
(ii) Health Care
(iii) Financial and Social Security
(iv) Protection against ill-treatment and
(v) Independent and productive living and care and support for those in need.

In order to address the problem of the older population, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment put in place the National Policy on older Persons in 1999 with a view to addressing problems related to aging in a comprehensive manner. But the programme failed at the implementation level. Now, coming under sharp criticism for the failure, the Ministry is again formulating a policy that is expected to address the concerns of the elderly. The main idea is to help them live a productive and dignified life. There is a scheme of grant-in-aid of the Integrated Programme for older person, under which financial assistance is provided to voluntary organizations for running and maintaining projects. Some of these include old-age homes day-care centres and physiotherapy clinics. Also , recently the National Programe for Health Care for elderly has been introduced in 2010 with the aim to provide separate and specialized comprehensive health care to senior citizens. The major component of this programme are establishing geriatric departments in eight regional geriatric centres and strengthening health care facilities of the elderly at various levels in 100 districts. Also the scheme is proposed to be expanded during the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

Furthermore, it can be concluded that for effective implementation of the various programmes for the welfare of senior citizens, a strong plan of action needs to be drawn up with special focus on issues such as financial and social security, protection and safety and health care etc. Also in order to achieve the desired goal, active participation of society, media, and institutions like health care and insurance providers is equally important apart from government initiatives.

Importance of the Article /News

  • Challenges faced by the elder population & cause.
  • Various Schemes/ initiatives etc.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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