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Insecure in old age

Mahesh Gupta, 76, would not mind working again. This may be a wrong time to go job hunting, especially for those his age, but many of them have little choice, reports Naziya Alvi.

delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2009 00:04 IST
Naziya Alvi

Rajendra Marwah, 72, retired as the bank manager of a government bank. He has now posted his resume at an online job portal and also circulated it among his friends and acquaintances. The economic downturn is pinching him. He said he needed a job to secure his family’s lifestyle.

Mahesh Gupta, 76, too would not mind working again. This may be a wrong time to go job hunting, especially for those his age, but many of them have little choice.

Gupta had invested Rs 5 lakh in a mutual fund for use in old age. Recession has brought its value down to half the amount. “It took me six years to save that money,” said Gupta.

He also postpones treatment of his shoulder for a severe pain. Medication for it would have cost Rs 3700 per month.

Statistics available with naukri.com, a leading job portal of India, revealed that there has been a significant rise in the number resumes posted by senior citizens on the website since the downturn. The data shows 2.7 times increase in the active resume count in the last few months as compared to the last one year.

With a drastic increase in medical expenses and a decline in the worth of money invested in funds, most senior citizens are looking for options to meet their requirements.

A knee replacement that would have cost A.S. Mathur, a senior citizen from Faridabad, Rs one lakh four years ago will now cost him Rs 2 lakh. “From where do you expect a senior citizen with no regular income to arrange for almost double the amount,” said Mathur, who retired as the director general of a leading public sector company.

A recent survey by Agewell Foundation, an NGO working for senior citizens, found that more than 50 per cent of all employees (in the age-group of 55-60 years) have postponed their plans to retire.

The survey was conducted across India and covered 1,500 senior citizens.

Chairman of Agewell Foundation Himanshu Rath said about 30 per cent said they were facing problems in meeting their basic needs since the recession.

Mathew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India, said they too have observed a similar trend. “There has been a three times increase in the number of senior citizens approaching us for jobs in the last few months,” said Cherian.

Dr Jane Barrett, secretary general, International Federation of Ageing, said across the world, people close to retirement were likely to extend their service period by a few years.

“More senior citizens are looking forward to taking up part time jobs like teaching,” Barrett said, during a recent discussion with Delhi's senior citizens.