The number of elderly people in India--currently standing at 100 million--is set to grow at the fastest pace among all demographic groups.
While India’s overall population is likely to grow by 55% between 2000 and 2050, the corresponding figures for the 60+ and 80+ age groups are 326% and 700%, according to Akshi Chawla, an IndiaSpend-ICFJ Associate. Indiaspend is a public-interest journalism non-profit organisation. By 2050, the 60+ age group is expected to form 19% of India’s population.
Yet, the majority of India’s aged subsist on meagre support from the government. The family continues to be seen as the normal site for the care of the elderly, even as factors such as decreasing family size, migration of the young for work and abuse within the family make this a less than ideal situation.
The Indian government has been providing social pensions. But on the whole, pensions in most states remain meagre, varying from INR200 (US$3.07) a month in Assam and Nagaland to INR250 in Mizoram, INR400 in Bihar and Gujarat, and INR500 in Rajasthan and Punjab.
An ongoing public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court demands a basic old-age pension of INR2,000 per month. “This 200 rupees was fixed years ago and it has no relevance to the cost of living today,” Ashwani Kumar, former Union Minister of Law and Justice, who filed the PIL, told IndiaSpend.