Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect

There is increasing publicity these days about how today, a large proportion of India’s population is young and how their sheer numbers add up to be a huge number. This is of course true. But highlighted less often is another fact – that India as a nation is graying and that by the year 2026,the population of senior citizens in the country is set to double. While it was 71 million in 2001, a report prepared by the Census of India shows that it will reach 173 million in the next 19 years. While the proportion of the population in the working age group is also expected to rise,their number too will be lower than the rise in the number of elderly.

This sets the stage for host of social problems in India as most of these elderly citizens will be without any form of social security or pensions. besides as society itself undergoes a transformation in its character, the conventionally available emotional security and family care may also be disappearing. The fact that this is already happening is tacitly acknowledged when the government finds it necessary to legislate through the The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2006 Under the provisions of which, a person who was responsible for the upkeep of parents failed to take care of them, can attract punitive measures like three months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000. Besides, it also provides for option to revoke the will that might have been written up by the parent at some stage in life.
Since India has always projected itself as a state where family values are strong , enduring and can match the absence of a conventional social security that the so called developed world offers. No old age homes and foster care for us and our parents we proclaim , but the reality seems to be some what different. True , our parents and grand parents may not live in the typical old age homes which in India have been typically associated with the destitute but it is possible for the senior citizens to live equally or more emotionally and financially starved lives in their own homes lonely and isolated from their children and grand children.
Some how , the situation of the elderly has not attracted the efforts of too many voluntary agencies. Till recently Helpage was the only agency of any size or significance that was involved in the welfare of the senior citizens and the numbers that they could reach were few,given the numbers involved. A recent entrant in this sphere is the Tina Ambani run Harmony Foundation. This is in sharp contrast to the huge numbers of groups working with the other vulnerable section of our population , the children. While working for children and their welfare is of course commendable, when there is little activity among the elderly who are equally vulnerable,if not more, we as a nation are sending out the message that while we care about the possibilities presented by the future, we see little meaning in and have little gratitude for the vast numbers who contributed to our past and recent history.
As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the great revolt of 1857, it is commendable that we remember great historical figures who are no more and the debt that we owe them. Now, if only we would show the same consideration for those who helped write and shape our modern history and who are still fortunately in our midst. That would be a fitting gesture of showing them value and affirmation.
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