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Delhi should care for aged

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 04:32 IST
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Delhi is young at heart. For, it attracts a large number of migrants from states across the country, and  everyone of them manages to survive here. If you think this is merely a feel-good statement to boost your morale, just sift through a report on “morbidity, healthcare and condition of the aged”, prepared by the Delhi government’s Directorate of Economics and Statistics, and know the facts.

The report says the morbidity rate in Delhi is one of the lowest in the country at 17 per thousand population. This figure is all the more impressive in comparison with other states. At the national level, the figure is 99.

And our immediate neighbours are not doing well either. The morbidity rate in Uttar Pradesh is 108, 107 in Punjab, 87 in Haryana and 72 in Rajasthan.

“The proportion of ailing persons in Delhi is lowest among all the states and comparable to several developed countries of the world,” Finance and Planning Minister AK Walia said on Thursday, after releasing the report.

The report also throws up another startling finding. It suggests that fewer people in Delhi are reporting sick. According to the report, the percentage of persons reporting illness in the city reduced from 3.1 per cent in 1995-96 to 1.7 per cent in 2004, when the National Sample Survey was carried out. At the national level, the picture is worrisome, with the percentage of people reporting illness showing a rise from 4.1 to 9.9 per cent in the corresponding period.

The survey, however, offers some disturbing figures on the senior citizens (aged above 60) living in the city. It found that there are 8.3 lakh aged persons in the city, 5.5 per cent of the total population. Of these, 55 per cent are dependent on others for economic support while only 37 per cent are not economically dependent on others.

Besides, the report found that joint families in the city are rapidly breaking up. Around 40 per cent of the children (married sons) of the 8.3 lakh senior citizens live separately in the same building where their parents stay. In 29 per cent cases, children were found to be living far from their parents’ residence. And in 29 per cent cases, children were living outside the city.

Of the 8.3 lakh senior citizens, about three per cent (24,935) were living alone, 14.45 per cent (1.02 lakh) lived with their spouse, 52 per cent (4.31 lakh) with spouse and children, 27.6 per cent (2.29 lakh) without spouse, but with children and 2.87 per cent (23,850) with other relations.

Email Amitabh Shukla: ashukla @hindustantimes.com

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