Topic: Social empowerment; Salient features of Indian society
1) The status of elderly in India has transformed a lot from the era gone by, in part because the society is in the throes of turbulent change. Examine in the light of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 cleared by the cabinet recently.
Why this question:
The article talks about the status of elderly people in India, the factors which have led to the change in the status of elderly, the issues plaguing them and the efforts made by the government in addressing their challenges. UPSC in the past has asked about the effect of globalisation on elderly people in India , and thus preparing this topic would bode well for mains.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to first discuss the status of elderly people in India. Thereafter, we need to examine how the changes in society has affected their status. Next, we need to highlight the issues faced by them, followed by the effort taken by the government through the mentioned Act in improving their status. Finally, way forward has to be mentioned.
Examine – The status quo of the elderly, and the reasons for that status quo need to be discussed in this part.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight the status quo of the elderly. Mention that the share of the elderly in India living alone or only with a spouse increased from 9 per cent in 1992 to 19 per cent in 2006. Both the share and size of elderly population is increasing over time.
Highlight the issues plaguing them and the changes that have taken place in society which is responsible for their current status. Discuss factors that have affected them like lack of infrastructure, changing family structure (mention that Since 1991, the number of households has grown faster than the population. Nuclear families now constitute 70 per cent of all households), lack of social support, social inequality, Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of Healthcare, economic dependency.
Discuss how the government through Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act made an attempt to ensure that the elderly in India do not suffer. Thereafter mention that the act made it a legal obligation for children to provide maintenance to parents in the form of a monthly allowance. In 2018, the revised Act seeks to increase the jail term for negligent children, broaden responsibility beyond biological children and grandchildren and expand the definition of maintenance to include safety and security.
Highlight the limitations of the Act and discuss way forward
Conclusion – Mention that the share of elderly in population is set to increase and its imperative that we act to protect their interest.