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Asian Ageing society

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Society/ Social justice


Source: Businesstimes


Context: With populations across East Asia declining and fewer young people entering the workforce, workers are working well into their 70s and beyond.


Impact of an ageing society:

  • On Finance: Early retirement ages have bloated the pension bills, making it difficult for governments in Asia to pay retirees enough money.
  • On Workplace: Companies desperately need workers, and older employees desperately need the work. Thereby the working age has gone beyond 70 years.
  • On rising poverty: In South Korea, the poverty rate among older people is close to 40 per cent
  • On Jobs: Many older workers engage in precarious, low-wage contract jobs after being forced out of their long-term employment by low retirement ages.
  • On Successions Plans: Many owners of firms in Japan in their mid-seventies have chosen to accelerate plans to either hand over control or watch their cherished firms disappear.
    • As a consequence, Japan faces the most extensive evaporation of know-how and institutional memory in modern history.


What is ageing?

Ageing is an irreversible, continuous, universal process, by which an individual’s productive contribution declines.



Status of Ageing in India?

  • India is ageing much faster than previously thought and is expected to have nearly 20% population of the world’s 60 years.
  • This will increase India’s dependency ratio from 9.8 (one of the lowest currently) to 20.3


What is Active Ageing?

Active ageing is a concept (deployed by the European Commission and WHO) for longer activity, with a higher retirement age and working practices adapted to the age of the employee. It sees the ageing population as the demographic dividend

Some of the Government measures for Elderly Population



Steps taken for Active ageing:

  • Community support: Germany is one of the super-aged societies but the Elderly are organized into community participants. They take care of children, discuss the important matter and suggest policy initiatives in their community meetings
  • Trade Union support: In Japan and South Korea, temporary job agencies and unions have formed to support older labourers.
  • Government support: The Japanese government now provides subsidies to small- and medium-sized companies that install accommodations for older workers, such as additional railings on staircases or extra rest areas for workers.
  • Increasing Retirement Age: Ireland plans to increase the retirement age to 68 years by 2028.
  • Catering to the problems of elderly women: By ensuring women’s property and inheritance rights, promoting literacy rate among elder women, and paying special attention to the rights of marginalized and Transgender women
  • Technology measures
    • Use of Data-driven policy for more age-inclusive government interventions:g. Data on old-age homeless persons can help decide the number of Old Age Homes required in the area
    • Technological empowerment of the elderly: Integrating older persons with digital technologies will help them become self-dependent on their needs.
    • g. PMGDISHA can be extended for the digital literacy of Elderly persons
    • Japan is using robots for elderly care. e.g., Paro, a robot seal made in Japan can be used to mitigate loneliness and dementia in the Elderly
    • Tele-Health can be used for elderly care in far and remote areas
  • Financial security
    • Enhancing Social security of the Elderly: Experts say that pension for the elderly is currently too meagre and should be at least 50% more than the minimum wage for older persons.
      • Also, Pensions must be indexed to inflation
    • CSR funds can be incorporated to support elderly care
    • A Universal Pension scheme for the elderly will help reduce the fiscal burden for elderly care as well as create a culture of long-term saving and investments
  • Behavioural change: By treating Elders as an asset to society and using innovative means such as Switzerland’s Time-Bank
    • Under this bank, young people bank their time by taking care of seniors which they can utilize when they get old or fall sick or need someone to take care of them



Thus India faces unprecedented population ageing due to lengthening lifespans, but this also presents an opportunity for India to bring about complex and ambitious changes in health, fiscal and social policies. Active ageing should be a government priority together with making a long-term policy for Old age. The Elderly in India report 2021 by MOSPI is a welcome step in this regard.


Insta Mains:

Q. India is ageing much faster than previously thought, but unlike many countries, preparation for active ageing is not a priority in India. Highlighting the statement, suggest various measures to address the challenge posed by unprecedented population ageing. (15M)