India's Aging Population: Policy Options and Programmes

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Smriti BHOSLE, SNDT Women's University, Mumbai., India
World population grew to 7.06 billion in mid-2012 after having passed the 7 billion mark in 2011. All across Asia, the number of people age 65 and above is expected to grow dramatically over the next 50 years. In Asia, life expectancy at birth has risen from 48 years in 1960 to 70 years in 2010. Substantial and simultaneous falls in both fertility and mortality mean that Asian countries are ageing much more rapidly. Not only will Asian countries have less time to prepare for aging, but most will have to meet the challenges of aging. The reason is that aging is occurring more rapidly than economic growth.

Many Asian countries, especially India may simply not be able to afford a large dependent elderly population. Perhaps even more important, they might not have the necessary institutions and financial systems in place, including efficient and well-managed pension and healthcare programs, capital markets, and accounting and regulatory systems. On the other hand, the traditional family support system is under pressure from demographic, social, and economic change. Increasing exposure to the West may also be introducing new ideas about marriage, family, and individualism—ideas that clash with the traditional sense of responsibility for the elderly.

An aging population strains a nation’s plans, social security system and pension plans, and puts pressure on health budgets. Facing an unprecedented pace of population aging, Indian government must tackle important policy challenges. The attempt has been made in the paper to identify the needs of the elderly, current approaches to support the elderly, and the policy options and programmes for the elderly. The paper will be based on secondary sources of data.