Shyam Vohra (name changed on request), a resident of DDA flats in Munirka area of south Delhi, retired seven years ago as an executive in a private company. Circa 2011, rising inflation has made his life miserable in the absence of pension and any other source of income.
“Vohra is not alone,” pointed out JR Gupta from the Confederation of Senior Citizens’ Association of Delhi. The body engages many such seniors in providing tuitions to needy students or some other work. “But that offers no money, despite the fact that they spend their service time in fruitful manner,” Gupta added. Similar conditions faced by scores of senior citizens were part of a study carried out by an advocacy NGO Agewell Foundation, India. “There is an urgent need to create gainful engagement opportunities for older people at all levels to ensure their active participation in society, dignity in old age and health and well-being,” found the study carried out with 12,000 respondents from Delhi and NCR.
A majority of seniors — a whopping 65.8 % — were not gainfully engaged anywhere, stated the study carried out in early December. Of those not engaged anywhere, 40.4% expressed the desire to work.
Further, it was found that only 8.42% elderly people were aware of the National Policy on Older Persons 1999. According to the study, only 11.5% of the respondents said they were aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007.
The pan-India study had 100,000 senior citizens as respondents as part of the impact assessment of Madrid International Plan of Action (2002) on ageing in India. The MIPA focuses on senior citizens and their development and ensuring supportive environment for the elderly. The study also dealt with other issues mentioned in the MIPA.