For fast-greying India, PM okays Senior Citizens Council

For fast-greying India, PM okays Senior Citizens Council Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, February 1 With India’s senior citizen population set to cross the estimated 100-million mark in 2013, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today approved the constitution of the National Council for Senior Citizens to advise the Centre and state governments on issues related to the welfare of this segment.

The council, an offshoot of the 1999 National Policy for Older Persons, which has failed to make much impact on ground, is expected to help the governments implement policies, programmes and legislative measures related to old persons. The PM’s approval comes at a time when evidence is mounting of the elderly being clearly unaware of their rights and entitlements under the law.

A recent survey conducted by HelpAge India revealed that only 18 per cent of the 60-plus people had heard of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, and 11 per cent knew of the 13-year-old National Policy on Older Persons. The survey also found that 55 pc of the older persons still had remittances from children as the major source of income followed by 35 per cent who depended on pensions. Hardly any evidence of constructive engagement of the old came to the fore though proof of their abuse was ample, with daughters-in-law being named as the principal abusers by 63.4 pc elderly.

The newly approved council will be headed by the Social Justice Minister and promises to promote physical and financial security, health and productive living of the elderly. The council would be anchored in the Social Justice Ministry which had proposed it.

The move will determine how well India can use its fast greying population. Projections for 1996-2016 made by the Technical Group on Population Projections have already said that the 60-plus population will cross the 100-million mark in 2013. Projections beyond 2016 made by the United Nations say that India will have 198 million persons over 60 years in 2030 and 326 million in 2050.

In fact, the 25-year period between 1991 and 2016 will witness an increase of 55.4 million 60-plus persons which is nearly the same as the entire population of old persons in 1991.

Further, close to six-tenths of the population in the age group of 60 to 69 years can be expected to be in reasonably good physical and mental health, free of serious disability and capable of leading an active life while one third of the population aged from 70 to 79 years can be expected to be fit. This means avenues have to be made available to engage them constructively.

growing OLD

  • India’s old population count set to cross 100-million mark by 2013
  • Men outnumber women in India even after 60 yrs of age
  • The trend to continue in 2016 when India will house estimated 57 million males and 56 million females over 60 years
  • Six-tenths of the population aged between 60 and 69 years will be fit to engage actively

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