Ageing population: Plan for their social security now - The Tribune India

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Ageing population

Plan for their social security now

Ageing population

Photo for representation. File photo

INDIA’s demographic dividend phase began in 2010 when the working-age population (20 to 59 years) accounted for 51 per cent of the total population, and this number has risen steadily. But it is now set to be offset by the rising numbers of senior citizens (60 years or above) in the coming decades. The ‘India Ageing Report 2023’, released by the United Nations Population Fund and the International Institute for Population Sciences, has forecast that by 2050, the senior citizens’ population will double to 20.8 per cent — to 34.7 crore people — as compared to July 2022, when they comprised 10.5 per cent (14.9 crore) of the population.

This corroborates the ‘Youth in India 2022’ report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which said a drop in the fertility rate had led to an increase in the concentration of the working-age people. It traced the proportion of the elderly population rising from 6.8 per cent in 1991 to 9.2 per cent in 2016 and projected that it would touch 14.9 per cent in 2036.

The reports call for the formulation of government policies that would cater to the welfare of the elderly in the near future. Senior citizens need enhanced and wider healthcare facilities, social security and pension to live with dignity during their twilight years. Thus, it is imperative to reap the benefits of today’s burgeoning young population — who will be tomorrow’s senior citizens — by creating job opportunities in both manufacturing and services sectors. Notably, the UN report has found that over 40 per cent of the elderly fall in the poorest wealth quintile. It’s time the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending on senior citizens’ welfare schemes was increased. Since 2014, it has remained at a paltry 0.3 per cent of the total expenditure despite a growth in CSR spending from Rs 89 million to Rs 551 million during the period.

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