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International Day of Older Persons 2021 – India organizes Vayo Naman Programme to honour Senior Citizens

International Day of Older Persons 2021 – India organizes Vayo Naman Programme to honour Senior  Citizens

Relevance

  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Vulnerable Sections || Elderly

Background 

  • As per the recently released  Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) Quality of Life for Elderly Index  India is currently enjoying the demographic dividend. But the age group above the age of 65 will become the fastest-growing age group by 2050.
  • The share of elders, as a percentage of the total population in the country, is expected to increase from around 7.5% in 2001 to almost 12.5% by 2026, and surpass 19.5% by 2050.

Further, there will be a significantly higher proportion of women than men in the higher age cohort due to higher life expectancy.

Why in the news?

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment organized a VAYO NAMAN Programme in the honour of Senior Citizens on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.
  • The Ministry celebrates International Day of Older Persons every year on 1st October for the cause of elderly persons.

Details

  • A  dedicated Elder Line 14567 was also announced. Elder Line is a National Helpline for Senior Citizens (NHSC) set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) and State Governments.
  • Two new portals were also launched- the Senior Able Citizens Reemployment in Dignity (SACRED) & Senior Care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) Portals on this occasion.

What are the Challenges the Elderly population face in society?

  • Feminization of Aging- One of the emerging issues of population aging is the “Feminization of Aging,” which refers to the fact that women outnumber men in reaching old age.
    • The sex ratio of the elderly has increased from 938 women to 1,000 men in 1971 to 1,033 in 2011 and is projected to increase to 1,060 by 2026.
    • The report also noted that between 2000 and 2050, the population of 80-plus people would have grown 700% “with a predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women” and so the special needs of such old women would need the significant focus of policy and programmes
  • Income stability-India has one of the world’s weakest social security systems, spending only 1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on pensions.
    • Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
    • A sudden increase in out-of-pocket expenses on treatment.
    • Migration of young working-age persons from the rural area have negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse, usually poverty and distress.
    • An insufficient housing facility.
  • Health 
    • Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.
    • Health issues like blindness, locomotor disabilities, and deafness are most prevalent.
    • Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.
    • Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural areas.
  • Social
    • Indian society is undergoing a rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education, and globalization.
    • Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
    • Industrialization has replaced the simple family production units with mass production and the factory.
    • Negligence by kids towards their old parents.

Measures taken by the Government for the welfare of elderly

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)– The scheme provides an old-age pension for persons above the age of 60 years and belongs to the BPL category.
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)– The scheme provides Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to the BPL category.
  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana– The scheme aims to provide social security during old age. It also protects elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • Senior care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) Initiative and SAGE portal– It aims to help startups interested in providing services for elderly care.
  • Elderline– a toll-free helpline number for elderly persons to provide emotional care, health, and legal assistance through dedicated call centers.
  • Mohini Giri Committee
    • A five-member high-powered committee, led by V Mohini Giri on 14 February 2011 submitted the final draft of National Policy on Senior Citizens 2011 to the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • The committee recommended that recipients of national honors like Padma awards or gallantry awards in the armed forces or national recognition for arts and culture must be given lifelong healthcare facilities for free on the lines of Central Government Health Services.
    • The draft was also sent to the Union Ministry of Health which is working to put in place a National Programme for Healthcare of Elderly.

New Two Portals launched

  • Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED) Portal
    • The portal is developed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • Citizens above 60 years of age can register on the portal and find jobs and work opportunities
    • The SACRED job portal will serve as an enabler for people looking for work and not as a platform guaranteeing employment, the ministry clarified.
  • Senior care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) Project
    • To provide ‘one-stop access’ to elderly care products and services, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) has designed the ‘Senior care Ageing Growth Engine’ (SAGE) project.
    • It aims at promoting private enterprises to bring out innovation in products to benefit the elderly. The inter-ministerial committee for the Senior Citizen Welfare Fund (SCWF) has considered the funding of about Rs 100 crore as equity support to the selected start-ups with a maximum of Rs one core per start-up.

Elderly care system around the world

  • Japan-In 2000, Japan introduced Long Term Care Insurance (LCTI), designed to provide cover to all those over the age of 65, according to their needs. As such, the system is one of the most comprehensive social care systems for the elderly in the world, built around the aim of reducing the burden of care for families.
  • SingaporeCare for the Elderly: An Integrated Approach
    • An aging population leads to higher demand for healthcare and aged care services, and new challenges in the delivery of care. Singapore has embarked on a careful planning and implementation effort involving all government ministries — ie, a total government effort.
  • Center-based Healthcare services are provided within a center. They include medical, nursing, and palliative care services.
  • Australia –Aged care in Australia is designed to make sure that every Australian can contribute as much as possible towards their cost of care, depending on their income and assets. That means that residents pay only what they can afford, and the Commonwealth government pays what the residents cannot pay.
    • An Australian statutory authority, the Productivity Commission, conducted a review of aged care commencing in 2010 and reporting in 2011. The review concluded that approximately 80% of care for older Australians is informal care provided by family, friends, and neighbors.
    • Around a million people received government-subsidized aged care services, most of these received low-level community care support, with 160,000 people in permanent residential care.
  • Canada-Private for-profit and not-for-profit facilities exist in Canada, but due to cost factors, some provinces operate or subsidize public facilities run by the provincial Ministry of Health. In public care homes, elderly Canadians may pay for their care on a sliding scale, based on annual income.
  • United Kingdom-Care for the elderly in the UK has traditionally been funded by the state, but it is increasingly rationed, according to a joint report by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust, as the cost of care to the nation rises. People who have minimal savings or other assets are provided with care either in their own home (from visiting carers) or by moving to a residential care home or nursing home. Larger numbers of old people need help because of an aging population and medical advances increasing life expectancy, but less is being paid out by the government to help them. A million people who need care get neither formal or informal help.

Way forward to improve the conditions of  the elderly in a population

  • Integration of the elderly in the economy: There is a need to cater to the current older person’s unique needs, motivations, and preferences, as well as provide them with opportunities to contribute to society until they promote active aging.
  • Health care and related services: To ensure healthy aging, good health is at the heart of society. As older people’s life expectancy rises in India, we must ensure that they live healthier lives, which will translate into more significant opportunities and lower costs for older people, their families, and society.
  • Enhancing the geriatric care health infrastructure especially in rural areas.
  • Allocation of a special budget for the elderly population at both levels.
  • Providing entertainment facilities like libraries and clubs at the panchayat level.
  • Appreciations for the contributions of elderlies at the village level.
  •  institutions such as family and kinship, neighborhood bonding, community bonding, and community participation must be revived and kins should show sensitivity towards elderly citizens.

Mains model Question

  • India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2027. Discuss the challenges of the rising population and suggest a way forward.

References