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Question – How is ageing becoming an emerging issue in Indian society. Explain its effects in detail. – 8 July 2021
Ageing is becoming an Emerging Issue
India, the world’s second most populous country, has experienced a dramatic demographic change over the past 50 years, with the population over the age of 60 (i.e., the elderly) nearly tripling (Government of India, 2011). This pattern is set to continue. It is projected that the proportion of Indians aged 60 and above will increase from 7.5% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2025 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs [UNDESA], 2008). This is a small percentage point increase, but a remarkable figure in absolute terms. According to UNDESA data on the estimated age structure of the population (2008), India had over 91.6 million elderly people in 2010, with an annual increase of 2.5 million elderly between 2005 and 2010. The elderly population in India is estimated to reach 158.7 million. By 2025 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2008), and by 2050, the population of children under the age of 14 is expected to exceed that. (How Ageing is becoming an Emerging Issue)
- The concept of nuclear family is gaining momentum in the modern Indian society and women are also ready to work. Grandparents or aged parents are considered a burden by some of these nuclear families as they are not able to provide any adequate socio-economic services. But if we take a closer look, these elderly parents or grandparents can be very useful.
- Though in old age, people are considered to be economically, socially and physically dependent on their progeny and government, their long earned life experience and 60 years of cumulative value addition have been largely neglected.
- Since aging is a natural phenomenon, it cannot be avoided and can be seen as a part of life. The solution lies not in seeing it as a burden but as an opportunity to use it creatively. It is the responsibility of the government to provide necessary financial assistance in the form of pension, health facilities as they are more prone to diseases and respectable place in the society through institutional mechanism. The recently announced Atal Pension Yojana for old age pension is a welcome step. With all these mechanisms, the government will bring innovative platforms to harness the experience and potential of these people. Post retirement employment, think tech, social reform groups, traditional knowledge societies, social work, use in improving education etc. There are many areas where these people’s free time can be used. They can also be innovatively useful in rectifying drug addicts, criminals, alcoholics through various platforms.
- The increasing trend of living as nuclear families, especially in urban areas, has worsened the condition of the elderly. The situation is worst when the grandfather or the parents are financially dependent on their children. Many old people have to take shelter in old age homes as a last resort. There social relations with children are almost non-existent. Elders living with their children are often seen as a hindrance to their independence. The kind of companionship and respect it requires is often lacking. Children will realize that old age is a part of life and eventually they too have to face this condition. Thus old age should not be seen as a transgressor but as a part of the family to teach social norms and values to all the members of the family.
- There is a dire need of a tectonic change in the approach of government and society to give much needed respect to our elders and to recognize and utilize their lifetime experience for the betterment of the nation.
- In India there are 100 million old aged persons so geriatric care is big policy challenge in front of government.
- In India we have certain strict legislation like “the maintenance and welfare of parent and senior citizen act” along with this we have national old age policy ,by senior citizen scheme government is providing various hurdle less ,economic services to old age person ,national old age pension scheme is also providing financial support to old aged person .
- The interactions between older persons, working parents and children complement each other. For example, the morally correct socialization of parents is a big issue when both parents are working. This can be easily solved by the grandparents, in return the grandparents get a lot of love, affection, care from their grandchildren.