The State of Elderly in India Report 2014 is a first-of-its-kind attempt at documenting the current status of our elderly. This is a monumental task, considering that the elder population now stands at 100 million and is projected to grow to 324 million, constituting 20% of the total population, by 2050.
The fact that it is left to an NGO to undertake this task at its own initiative and cost is in itself a comment that this segment of our Society continues to be denied the attention it deserves from policy planners and program implementers.
This report by India’s leading age care NGO, HelpAge India, is a compilation of articles and factoids and serves to highlight the dichotomy between an apparently happy picture of increased longevity and the reality of long years of hopelessness, bereft of family, society or state support that our elderly face today.
There are numerous problems that need to be addressed urgently, particularly those that affect the underprivileged sections the most. These have been elaborated in individual chapters. Some need immediate intervention by state and central governments. Others, such as elder abuse highlight a national shame that requires both introspection and action from society at large.
This report has high relevance to all those engaged in building a better India for our citizens, be they government agencies, policy planners, educationists, social activists, political parties, parents and children. It is just as important for those elders amongst us who are active and are fortunately privileged, to lead the fight for their rights and their implementation if a just and fair society is to prevail.