Senior Citizens – Beyond the Old Age Pension
Senior Citizens (60 years and above old people) in our country are the most neglected lot. There are no schemes that guarantee them good returns on their investments except the eye-wash 0.50% extra on the FD rates. By 2050, 20% of the overall Indian population will be over 60 years of age. Pension only covers about 35% of senior citizens currently, leaving the rest, i.e. 61.5% without any income security. The old age pensions being given by State Governments ranging from Rs.1,000/- to Rs.2,000/-in various states is not at all sufficient to meet even the expenditure on food. Telangana Govt reduced the age to 57 years for getting the old age pension. These are purely the politically motivated welfare schemes with no sustainable and rational approach.
What a senior citizen generally needs for her/his safety and security to lead normal life:
- Monthly income that can meet basic needs (Food, clothing, rentals if staying in tenements, traveling expenses & the mobile phone charges).
- Insurance that covers expenditure on hospitalization.
- Helping hand in emergency.
- Nursing facility for bed-ridden people.
- Spiritual engagement.
We are living in a country that was known for joint family culture where the entire family is accountable for the welfare of the old people and old people are respected, revered, taken care of with love and affection. The Industrial and IT Revolution resulted in breaking the Joint Families and many old people who have got their own home are blessed today to stay in their homes with whatever support they get from the neighborhood. Those with no home of their home either stay in rented houses or confined to old age homes. Only an insignificant % of old people are still being looked after by their kids. It’s here a sensible government can see a huge opportunity. The govt needs to give tax exemptions and such special treatment/priority to those who are looking after their parents. Single bread winner with dependent spouse, children and parents need to be supported based on the income levels.
What is the plan of BJP for the Senior Citizens? How this plan leverages our rich cultural traditions of respecting elders in general and parents in particular. The expressions “Vande Maataram” and “Maatru Devobhava” shall be reflected in our schemes for the Senior Citizens. The Senior Citizens constitute a unique talent pool that this country is not leveraging. They are mentors par excellence. They fit in to the roles of “Friend, Philosopher and Guide” for the younger generations. They can do many tasks with maturity and expertise. They can teach more powerful lessons to the students, by embedding their unique experiences. Alas! Their services are not being utilized.
Our Human Rights activists do not consider Senior Citizens in their movements. How many of us had seen them fighting for the rights of the Senior Citizens? How many CSR activities have targets aiming at making the aging a lovely process? We need to make Bharat the as the paradise for Senior Citizens. Our philosophical wisdom, the Tatvas obtained from 3 Acharyas, Vedic Traditions, Purana, Itihasa, etc., shall give us the eternal advantage to celebrate old age as the real gift to the Humanity.
Congress rule destroyed all these prospects so none of us talk about them as the unique t and original advantages that this Nation has. Unfortunately BJP just followed the model of governing this unique country on the lines of Congress.