March 24, 2022
Santanu Sen’s Zero Hour notice on the need for a comprehensive programme to support the elderly
Mr. Chairman, Sir, the ‘Elderly in India 2021 Report’ by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation estimated that the elderly population was 138 million, comprising 67 million men and 71 million women. The elderly population has risen by 32.7 per cent between 2011 and 2021, while the general population has risen only by 12.4 per cent during the same period. The UN data suggests that by 2050 around 19.1 per cent of India’s population would be
above 60. Fertility rates are falling, and life expectancy is increasing, skewing the ratio of elderly folk to the youth expected to care for them. Sir, 37 per cent of Indians are internal migrants as per the 2011 Census, and we
have the large diaspora community in the world as well, meaning that young people are moving away from elderly parents and relatives in search of work and leaving them alone in their old age. Sir, 23 per cent of Indian elders live in poverty. Only 2 per cent of Indians have access to palliative care. Estimates suggest that 90 per cent of the elderly have to work to support themselves. The LASI, that is, longitudinal age study in India, found that nearly 6 per cent of older individuals in India, aged above 45 years, consumed smaller portions or skipped meals, 5.3 per cent did not eat when they were hungry and 3.8 per cent went a full day without eating due to unavailability of food. Beyond relying on children and communities to care for elderly, or leaving them to their own sufferings, there must be some
steps to be taken to form a comprehensive programme to support the elderly in their twilight years. Thank you very much, Sir.