The number of Indians over the age of 60 has hit an all-time high, accounting for 8.6% of the country's total 121-crore population, according to latest Indian government official figures.
A report recently released by the Ministry of Statistics says that the number of citizens over the age of 60 jumped 35.5% - from 7.6 crore in 2001 to 10.3 crore in 2011. This is also a record high since 1950 and is almost twice the rate at which the overall population grew. Importantly, in the same period - 2001 to 2011 - India's overall population grew by 17.7%, according to official figures.
The state with the highest percentage of elderly in Indian includes Kerala, and the state with the least number of elderly is Arunachal Pradesh followed by Meghalaya. In contrast ageing economies such as Japan have an age dependency ratio as high as 42, and Belgium has 28.
"The trend clearly reveals that ageing will emerge as a major social challenge in the future," says Ms. Amarjeet Kaur, Director-General (Central Statistical Office), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
The Director General of the Central Statistical Office says that the population ageing is a global phenomenon. The elderly face a number of problems due to the absence of an assured and sufficient income to support themselves for their healthcare and other social security’s, beside the loss of a social role and recognition and non-availability of opportunities for creative and effective use of free time are also becoming a matter of great concern for them. According to Manish Sabharwal, chairman and co-founder of Team lease Services, staffing services provider, "Poor or developing countries can't afford a social security system. What we should do is ramp up our education system and creates job opportunities. We should create an environment where people have jobs and are in a position to save money for their future”.
India’s older population is also expected to increase dramatically over the next four decades. According to a separate study conducted by the United Nations Population Division (UN 2011), the share of India’s population ages 60 and older is projected to climb from 8% in 2010 to 19% in 2050.