Population aging is gradually becoming a concern for both developed and developing nations. In India, the elderly depend upon the joint family system for care-giving support. However, factors such as industrialization, migration, and urbanization have disrupted the joint family system and resulted in the growth of nuclear families. In the process, the elderly are encountering both economic and emotional problems.Do You think Crime and abuse against India’s seniors are on the rise. What can be done to protect the elderly?Discuss.
Points which should be followed while answer writing:
Some facts and census data:
- According to the 2011 census data, India is home to 104 million elderly people (aged 60 years and above), 53 million women and 51 million men. Most (71 percent) of the elderly reside in rural areas; 29 percent reside in urban areas.
- The 2011 census also revealed that 15 million elderly people live alone and three-fourths of them are women. Demographically, the proportion of India’s elderly population has increased from 5.6 percent in 1961 to 8.6 percent in 2011.
- These statistics are indicative of the fact that the concerns of the elderly need to be addressed with priority. Amidst other concerns, the security of India’s older population requires immediate attention.
The major reasons for the rising criminal offences against the elderly are:
- vulnerability and lack of protection.
- The breaking up of the joint family system. Due to lack of support and security, older adults become susceptible to criminal activities.
Physical Abuse and the Elderly in India
- In the context of criminal activities it is important to note that the elderly are often victims of physical abuse by both family members and outsiders.
- Every fourth senior citizen admitted that they are being exploited by their family members.
- elderly faced abuse for financial and emotional reasons respectively.
- Lack of respect and property-related matters are considered to be the major reasons for elderly abuse by family members in India.
- Another important reason older adults in India are at high risk of abuse is because elderly in India are illiterate.
Government's role and schemes and legal protection for old population.
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has implemented a Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Program for Older Persons (IPOP) since 1992.
- The objective of this scheme was to improve the quality of life of senior citizens by providing basic amenities such as shelter, food, medical care, and entertainment opportunities with the help of the government, non-governmental organizations, (NGOs), Panchayati Raj institutions, and local bodies. This scheme, revised in 2008, also provides assistance for the maintenance of nursing homes, dementia centers, older widow care centers, and respite care homes.
- The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was enacted in December 2007 to ensure the wellbeing of older adults.
- This Act makes it mandatory for children and relatives to provide care facilities to their older parents or relatives after they reach the age of 60.
- This Act also gives older adults the right to revoke their property transfers in case of negligence. Additionally the Act also ensures that older adults receive protection of life and medical facilities from their family members.
- In cases of abuse the Act provides the older adult the right to avail themselves of penal provisions (although, as noted above, in reality such incidents are seldom reported).
Some Perspective to be followed:
- Strong implementation of schemes.
- Increase in awareness among older adults regarding the existence of these policies. As per Indian tradition, older adults usually depend on their sons to fulfill their economic and emotional needs. Hence older adults in India are ill-prepared to live alone or make financial arrangements for themselves.
- A mandatory social long-term care insurance (LTCI) system is much needed.
- This system made institutional and home- and community-based services such home-help and rehabilitation services available to every individual aged 65 years or above who is certified to have physical or mental health needs irrespective of income levels and family support.
- Alternative care giving arrangements. These service providers are paid by the government and the elderly can use their services through phone calls to local government.
- Establishment of a Senior Citizens Security Cell at the Police Headquarters for crimes against the elderly.
- Contribution should be made mandatory for all employees to contribute some part of their income to social security fund, known as the Central Provident Fund. Post-retirement individuals can avail themselves of the benefits of this fund.
- policies must be designed to keep older adults active and engaged in their later life.
- The main aim is to make older adults self-sufficient and aid them in the aging process.on the other hand, it seems that older adults do not avail themselves of the benefits of existing policies and are increasingly victims of abuse and crime.
- A strict National Policy for the Elderly to ensure protection of their rights should be immediately formulated. In addition to preventing crime, however, it is important for the government to adapt to the current needs of the elderly and formulate a national policy that will enable older adults to become independent and self-sufficient.