The “India Ageing Report 2023” has been prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Institute of Population Sciences(IIPS), on welfare of senior citizens in India.
- However, the Government of India has already been addressing the challenges and opportunities related to elderly care through various constitutional provisions, like, Article 41 of the Constitution of India; through laws, like the,
- Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007;
- policies, like the, National Policy on Older Persons, 1999;
- Schemes and Programmes, like, Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Atal Pension Yojana, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, among others.
- The Government of India through its schemes and programmes is collaborating with Non-Governmental/Voluntary Organizations, Regional Resource Training Centres and National Institute of Social Defence for implementing its programs, including capacity building.
- The Private Sector already has provision to work in the field of elderly welfare through Corporate Social Responsibility as per provisions of Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013.
Key Findings of India Ageing Report 2023
- According to a new report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in just three decades, one in every five Indians will be a senior citizen.
- The India Ageing Report 2023 notes that by 2050, the share of senior citizens — aged 60 years and above — will rise to 20.8 per cent of the population. That is close to 347 million.
- This is a steep rise from the 2022 demographic of 149 million elderly persons, which was about 10.5 per cent of the country’s population.
- This projection is also affirmed by the World Population Prospects 2022 report, which mentioned that the proportion of senior citizens will reach 36.1 per cent of the population of India by 2100, comprising more than 550 million people.
- The India Ageing Report also suggests that along with the growth in the elderly population, India has been witnessing a decline in the population of the young.
- In fact, the report projects that before 2050, the population size of the elderly in India will be higher than the population size of children aged 14 and below.
States that are ageing faster
- According to the India Ageing Report, there is significant variation in absolute levels and growth of the elderly population across states.
- Most of the states in southern India and some northern states such as Himachal Pradesh and Punjab reported a higher share of the elderly population than the national average in 2021.
- But this gap, the report says, is expected to widen by 2036.
- Kerala has the highest share of the elderly population in India, which stood at 16.5 per cent of the state’s population as of 2021.
- This is projected to rise to 22.8 per cent by 2036. But a bigger jump of more than seven percentage points is projected for Tamil Nadu, which as of 2021 had the second-highest elderly population in any Indian state.
- Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand will witness relatively lower rises in the elderly population according to the report — and they will remain below the national average.
Gender and ageing
- Per the report, “Poverty is inherently gendered in old age when older women are more likely to be widowed, living alone, with no income and with fewer assets of their own, and fully dependent on family for support.”
- The report projects that while the sex ratio (females per thousand males) in general will be low in India by 2031, it will increase for the elderly — 951 in general as compared to 1,078 for the elderly.
- In fact, the sex ratio among the elderly has already been growing.
- From 1,033 in 2011, India’s elderly sex ratio went up to 1,061 in 2021. This uptick has been observed in most parts of the country but especially in central India, where the sex ratio went from 973 in 2011 to 1,053 in 2021.
The India Ageing Report 2023’s key findings encompass a range of analyses related to elderly well-being, including:
- The enhancement of geriatric care to cater to the unique healthcare needs of seniors.
- A multitude of government schemes and policies addressing the health, financial empowerment, and capacity building needs of the elderly population.
- Community-based organizations actively engaged in digital empowerment through computer and internet usage sessions.
- Ministerial committees dedicated to shaping policies for elderly welfare.
- Corporate efforts for joyful aging, social assistance, old age homes, and elder abuse awareness campaigns.
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