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Incentives to families, ask elderly

Close to 72 per cent of 80 plus senior citizens of India financially depend on their family for sustenance. Seventy one per cent of these elderly live with sons and 10 per cent stay alone.

delhi Updated: Oct 01, 2010 00:01 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Close to 72 per cent of 80 plus senior citizens of India financially depend on their family for sustenance. Seventy one per cent of these elderly live with sons and 10 per cent stay alone.

The findings titled — ‘Economic & Health Survey on India's Oldest Old (80 +)’ were released by HelpAge India — a non-government organisation working towards empowering the old, on the eve of International Day of Older Persons.

"The fact that the majority of the surveyed population lived with their families is a very positive sign imagining the ever increasing trend of smaller nuclear units," said Kapil Kaul, country head, advocacy, resource and communication, HelpAge India.

"Under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, it is a legal obligation for children to provide for their elderly but if we want to see this trend grow in future, the government should provide incentives to the provider — the son or the daughter taking care of their elders."

India has an 80 plus population of more than 80 lakh, out of which 20,22,345 live in urban areas (Census 2001).

"The survey results are encouraging but to ensure they remain as encouraging, the government could provide tax benefits to sons or heirs spending over R one lakh a year on their elder's health," suggested Rajan Kumar Dikhsit, 78.

The survey covered 833 elderly (with 416 men and 417 women) and was spread across eight cities in India- Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Patna and Hyderabad.