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India yet to wake up to the challenge of old-age related disabilities

D.N.I.S. News Network - Indiaís demographic revolution is creating greater instances of age-related disabilities with increase in longevity, but the country seems to be ill prepared to face the fall out of this demographic transition.

With people living longer, the State would need to create special infrastructure and allocate resources for their care, including those with disabilities. But as a nation, we have not yet woken up to the sheer magnitude of this challenge. If not addressed it would turn into an economic nightmare and massive wastage of human resource. With the present work infrastructure very few would be able to play an active role socially and economically after a certain age. According to one figure, the number of people over the age of 60 is currently placed at seventy million.

Projections beyond 2016 made by the United Nations indicate that India will have 198 million persons in 60 plus age group and 326 million in 2050. The percentage of people in 60 plus age group has shown a steady rise from 5.1 per cent in 1901 to 6.8 per cent in 1991. It is expected to reach 8.9 per cent in 2016 and constitute 21 per cent of the total Indian population by 2050. The Union Government had enacted The National Policy on Older Persons in May 1999 for providing better quality of life to millions of older Indians. But, the policy has remained on paper with little or no implementation.