With the advancements in health science and increase in average life expectancy in India, the base of senior citizens is fast growing. According to an estimate, by 2050, India will be home to second largest elderly population in the world. This might not seem to be alarming unless you see it in context of some true facts.
To begin with, India had 90 million elderly persons in 2011. Of this, around 30 million are staying alone and 90% still work for their living. Since poverty is not declining at a faster rate, the aged section of the population is becoming more vulnerable.
The living standard of the aged population depends on their surrounding circumstances, the society they are living in and most importantly, the policy launched by their governments.
Haryana is one such state in India that is fast shifting from being an agrarian to an industrial state. It enjoys highest per capita income (2010-2011) in the country. All this has made its aged population rise in numbers, which hints at the rising requirement for the launch of better schemes and programmes for them. This is possible with the active participation of the state government.
The need is to focus on introducing several schemes for the elderly in the state, so that they don't feel neglected and are appreciated for their existence. Economic assistance should be launched by the government to provide them with a fixed income in the form of pension every month. Even greater requirement is to see that their pension amount is credited to their accounts regularly. Although postal saving schemes are already there, they must be made more lucrative to attract more and more elderly to it.
To protect their health should be a prime concern for the government. They should be provided medical checkups and medicines at subsidised rates. The people who are below poverty line should be able to avail medical facilities for free. Rooms should be reserved and separate counters should be made for them at hospitals to make their visit a hassle-free affair. Along with it, more old age home should be built to accommodate more and more elderly who are neglected by their children. Their social life should also be taken care of by introducing various schemes exclusively for them, such as giving them concession in public services, etc.
An effort should be made by the government to enhance their standard of living. NGOs should be encouraged to open day cares and maintain them and also submit their report on a regular basis. Special helpline to assist them in their problems should be launched.
Although, the state government has implemented various award schemes for them, several more schemes should be launched to boost their morale.
No doubt, there are already various schemes launched by the government for their betterment, they are not enough if we consider their steadily rising population.
And lastly, all the present and future schemes launched by the government should be advertised and made public, so that even an illiterate person can remain aware of such schemes.