ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL TO THE PRIME MINISTER (EAC-PM)

  • Recently, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the Quality of Life for Elderly Index.
  • The share of elders, as a percentage of the total population in the country, is expected to increase from around 7.5% in 2001 to almost 12.5% by 2026, and surpass 19.5% by 2050.
  • EAC-PM is a non-constitutional, non-statutory, independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.

Important points:

  • The Index has been created by the Institute for Competitiveness at the request of EAC-PM and it sheds light on an issue often not mentioned- problems faced by the elderly.
  • Institute for Competitiveness, India is an international initiative centered in India, dedicated to enlarging and purposeful disseminating of the body of research and knowledge on competition and strategy.
  • It identifies the regional patterns of ageing across Indian States and assesses the overall ageing situation in India.
  • Ageing is a continuous, irreversible, universal process, which starts from conception till the death of an individual.
  • However, the age at which one’s productive contribution declines and one tends to be economically dependent can probably be treated as the onset of the aged stage of life.
  • National Elderly Policy defines people in the 60+ age group as elderly.
  • It will  promote healthy competition among States through fair rankings and highlights the pillars and indicators they can improve.

Pillars & Sub-Pillars of the Index: 

Four Pillars:

Financial Well-being, Social Well-being, Health System and Income Security

Eight Sub-Pillars:

Economic Empowerment, Educational Attainment & Employment, Social Status, Physical Security, Basic Health, Psychological Well being, Social Security and Enabling Environment.

Major Findings:

State-wise Rankings:

  • Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are top-scoring regions in Aged and Relatively Aged States, respectively.
  • The Aged States refer to States with an elderly population of more than 5 million, whereas Relatively Aged States refer to States with an Elderly population of less than 5 million.
  • Chandigarh and Mizoram are top-scoring regions in Union Territory and North-East States category.

Pillar-wise Performance:

  • The Health System pillar observes the highest national average, 66.97 at an all-India level, followed by 62.34 in Social Well-being.
  • Financial Well-being observes a score of 44.7, which is lowered by the low performance of 21 States across the Education Attainment & Employment pillar, which showcases scope for improvement.
  • States have performed particularly worse in the Income Security pillar because over half of the States have a score below the national average in Income Security, which is the lowest across all pillars.

Challenges:

  • One of the emerging issues of population ageing is the “Feminization of Ageing”, that is many more women than men reaching older ages.
  • India has one of the weakest social security mechanisms globally as it only spends 1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on pensions.
  • There is a need to cater to the present older person’s unique needs, motivations, and preferences, and to give them a chance to contribute to society until they promote active ageing.
  • Good health lies at the core of society to ensure healthy ageing. As the life expectancy of older people increases in India, we need to ensure that people, while living longer, live healthier lives, which will translate into more significant opportunities and lower costs to older persons, their families and society.

Global Initiatives:

  • Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030): The Decade of Healthy Ageing was endorsed by the 73rd World Health Assembly (decision making body of the World Health Organisation) in 2020.
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for leaving no one behind and for ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are met for all segments of society, at all ages, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable—including older persons.

Way Forward

  • India is often portrayed as a young society, with a consequent demographic dividend. But, as with every country that goes through a fast process of demographic transition, India also has a greying cum aging problem.
  • For the welfare and care for the older persons, we must focus on the protection of already existing social support systems/traditional social institutions such as family and kinship, neighborhood bonding, community bonding and community participation must be revived and kins should show sensitivity towards elderly citizens.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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