India is one of the countries that will have to deal with the issue of an ageing population in a big way in years to come as the rate at which it is growing here is fastest in the world after China. The growth rate, which was between 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent in 2010, will rise by 20 per cent by 2050 , meaning there will be 300 million senior citizens in the country in the next couple of decades. Sadly, despite such projections not much is being done to provide the aged social welfare, economic security, emotional support or proper care although the majority are poor or middle class and in need of social security.
In fact, financial security for the old is under increasing strain throughout India owing to a lack of policy and security for this section of people. What we need is a national policy that prevents crime against the elderly and aims to provide them helplines.
We should start looking at universal health insurance for the elderly, not restricting it to merely BPL patients, but extending it to the middle-class as well. We need helplines, the establishment of a national trust for the aged and a national commission for senior citizens. Sadly, as a society, we do not care for our elderly and hence the lack of will.
The government needs to start doing research and collecting data on the old and their needs to help future generations benefit and live longer with security. It should concentrate on the middle-class elderly too because their savings are not enough and come out with some sort of a universal pension plan.