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  • 09 Dec 2020 GS Paper 2 Social Justice

    The changing age structure of the population has inspired India to focus on identifying challenges and welfare of its senior citizens. In the light of the statement, explain in brief the problems related to the old age and discuss the government’s policy response. (250 words)

    Approach
    • Elaborate context of the given statement in the introduction.
    • Explain in brief the problems related to the old age citizens.
    • Discuss the government's policy response.
    • Write a suitable conclusion.

    Introduction

    • According to studies, India may have nearly 20 per cent population of 60 years and above by 2050. The changing demographic profile has thrown many new challenges in the social, economic and political domains.

    Body

    Problems Related To The Old Age Citizens

    • Industrialisation, urbanisation and migration of population have brought the concept of nuclear family, as a result of which a section of the family, primarily the elders, are confronting the problems of financial and physical support.
    • About 65% of the total population of older people in India right now are poor. Many of them spend a disproportionate amount on medical expenses, and many of them are so poor they don’t know where their next meal will come from.
    • The government recently stated in Parliament that India will have 34 crore people above 60 years of age by 2050 that would be more than the total population of the US.
    • In a recent report, SBI has warned that India has now only a limited window of just 10 years to get into the developed country tag, or stay perpetually in an emerging group of economies. India’s strength of demographic dividend could actually turn into India’s disadvantage by 2030.

    Government’s Policy Response:

    • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed in 2007 to enable senior citizens abandoned by their children to claim maintenance. Section 19 of the act also mandates the establishment of at least one old age home in every district.
    • The Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment is implementing the Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP)under which grants-in-aid are given for running and maintenance of Old Age Homes, Day Care Centres, Mobile Medicare Units, multi-facility Care Centre for Older Widows etc.
    • Old age pension is provided under the Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) which is a component of National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development.
    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) to provide dedicated health care facilities to the elderly people through the state public health delivery system.
    • A number of incentives have been provided under the Income Tax Act, 1961 and by the Ministry of Railways and Air India to a senior citizen.
    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for the welfare of senior citizens. The Ageing Division in the Social Defence Bureau in the Ministry develops and implements programmes and policies for the senior citizens in close collaboration with State Governments, NGOs and civil society

    Conclusion

    Policies with regard to older people in India look very good on paper, but implementation is key here. There is an emerging need to pay greater attention to ageing related issues and to promote holistic policies and programmes for dealing with ageing society.

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