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UNFPA India today released “Caring for our elders: Early Responses India Ageing Report 2017” at the India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi in presence of Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Hon’ble minister, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Talking about the report were eminent panellists, including Sh. Sharad C Sinha, member, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Ravi Srivastava, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Sh. Sunil Arora, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs & Sh. Matthew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India . Amongst the hundred-plus participants at the function were representatives from the government, civil society,  educational and research institutes, UN agencies, and experts on Ageing.

The India Ageing report takes stock of the situation of the elderly in India, flags some key concerns and maps policy and programmatic responses by the Government and civil society. The report also documents good case studies and practices across the country.

While India is busy tapping its demographic dividend, this window of opportunity will be closing soon. According to the India Ageing report just released by UNFPA, by 2030 around 12.5 percent of our population will be 60 years and older and by 2050 one fifth of India’s population will be aged. Stressing upon the need to start planning for demographic transition, the report discusses multiple vulnerabilities faced by the aged in India, especially in terms of health, income, as well as social and psychological aspects.

Diego Palacios, UNFPA Country Representative India and Country Director Bhutan, in his address said “Everyone has a part to play for the well-being of elderly, including the government civil society, communities, and families. I would really like to thank the MSJE, Government of India for their continuous support to our efforts in bringing out this report”.

The report also highlights the status of elderly women, who are more vulnerable due to a longer life expectancy as compared to their male counterparts. Aged widows with meagre or no income, are especially vulnerable in the absence of a proper social security network. What’s more worrying is the fact that 10 percent of them are living alone, and the number has been rising over the past few decades, as evident from the data in the report.

In his keynote address, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Hon’ble minister, MSJEGOI, spoke about the “Senior Citizen Welfare Fund” recently launched by the government. The Hon’ble minister also announced plans to launch another important scheme “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” to assist senior citizens suffering from age-related ailments.

Highlights of the India Ageing Report 2017:

  1. Status of the Elderly - workforce participation, income security, health status, NCDs, disability, gender concerns, etc. in accessing social welfare services
  2. Effectiveness of current programmes (IPOP, NPHCE and NSAP) – the programs show a mixed scenario with scope for strengthening
  3. Government and NGO activities – Analyses elder care services in India by Government and selected NGOs and maps their activities in brief
  4. Good practices from around the country - case studies: The Elderly SHG; Kudumbashree & Palliative Care (Kerala); an NGO experience in providing dementia care, food security (Tamil Nadu), etc.
  5. Elderly voices and concerns, and relevant provisions in the national policy
  6. Estimated demand for elder care services including support needed in activities of daily living (ADL) and dealing with chronic ailments
  7. Way forward - Policy and programme relevance; Supportive environment; Capacity building of mid-level managers; Health professionals and service providers; and Undertaking essential research in specific aspects of ageing relevant to the national policy

The report is available for download at