New bill to address 'oldest of the old'

The ministry of social justice and empowerment has put together a draft note that offers several welfare measures for the senior citizens and addresses the issues of the most vulnerable “oldest of the old” category.

The draft has been circulated to other ministries and important stakeholders and will be sent to the cabinet for approval after incorporating their feedbacks.

The policy, which targets the oldest of the old, people who are aged 80 and above, aims at broadening old age pension scheme to people below the poverty line, while also considering use of technology and better healthcare for the elderly.  For the first time, the ministry aims to focus on the 80 plus population, since the number of those reaching that age is growing rapidly and form 10 per cent of the senior citizens.

According to figures from Registrar General of India, the number of senior citizens in India, which would include anyone reaching sixty and above, would be 17.32 crore by 2026. This would include 8.46 crore male and 8.86 crore female, which would be 12.4 per cent of the total population.

It would focus on family, the primary caregiver for the elderly, besides highlighting establishing homes for the elderly.

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