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India’s elderly population UPSC NOTE

 Challenges faced by elderly population

  • In Indian conditions, the four vulnerabilities of later ages in life course are in terms of restrictions in activities of daily living, multi-morbidity, poverty and absence of any income

  • On these counts, the Longitudinal Ageing Survey of India (LASI, 2017-18) reports that about 20% of the elderly population experience each of these vulnerabilities

  • The most disturbing feature relates to the health status that is reported to be poor by a quarter of the elderly as against about 20% among the population aged 45 and above. 

  • Contrasting today’s elderly with tomorrow’s, there is every possibility of characteristic advantage in terms of education, life preparation and economic dependence but adversities in health and quality of living owing to rising longevity and emergence of long-term chronic ailments

  • Limitations as regards activities of daily living (ADL) do show a worsening trend over age even among the elderly population but one wonders as to whether that pattern will be moderated down among the future elderly and be postponed to much later ages of life.

  • While 75% of the elderly population are victims of one or more chronic diseases, 40% of those aged 45 and above have one or the other disability

  • With the advent of the global burden of disease, it is apparent that the two threatening forces are diabetes and cancer which appear to be frequent among India’s elderly.

  • Also, the emerging concern relates to mental health with 20% of those aged above 45 self-reporting some ailment, primarily associated with depression; this is reasonably higher compared with the self-reported extent among the elderly.

  • There also appears to be food insecurity among India’s elderly where 6% of those above 45 years of age ate smaller portions or skipped meals and 5.3% of them did not eat despite being hungry

  • This phenomenon may look minimal but has its bearing on nutrition and consequential morbidities

  • Recognising these adversities, protection measures are in place in terms of welfare provisioning, legal recourse as well as concessional measures for this group of population. 

  • However, there is very little awareness regarding the welfare provisioning. 

  • Hardly 12% are aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and 28% are aware of various concessions offered to the elderly.


  • The remedy requires a multi-pronged approach involving the principles of inclusion and adoption of social security measures

  • Viewing these vulnerabilities as a life course phenomenon, promotion of life preparatory measures has to be put in place; this need not be limited to financial or economic independence per se but also means to ensure healthy active and productive years

  • A movement towards creating social agency for this vulnerable group is the need of the hour

  • Innovative forms of institutions can be brought in place to alter their valuation from liability to an asset

  • There needs to be a focus on ensuring an active life course for the future elderly.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India’s elderly population UPSC NOTE
India’s elderly population UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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