India’s Ageing Trend Highlighting Potential Demographic Shift and Need for Socio-economic Policy Attention

India is on the path of rapid growth to become a developed nation by 2047, in which its demographic dividend going to play a major role. India is home to the largest population in the world and is continuously working to increase its working capabilities across the sectors to achieve the best out of its demographic dividend until 2055-56, with a peak of its highest working population share around 2041.

Besides these encouraging trends, the recent United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) India in association with the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) brought a major shift of focus from demographic dividend to India’s rising ageing population in its “India Ageing Report 2023”.  As per the report, India’s population is ageing with a decadal growth rate of 41% which will result in more than 20% of India’s total population becoming elderly by 2050. It will bring a major challenge to India’s healthcare and social sector to provide them a healthy, dignified, and meaningful lives.

For this, major attention to the socioeconomic policy of the government to tackle the needs of the elderly population to enhance their quality of life through increased awareness is required. The data shows higher life expectancy among women varies regionally and demands empowerment as life expectancy and other socio-economic concerns related to the ageing population are deeply associated with poverty.

The Government of India has been maintaining Old Age Homes for the elderly population since the early 90s but the limited awareness about these facilities and social security schemes restrict the access to the needy population. Only around 55% of India’s elderly population is aware of the old-age pension schemes run by the government which got even down when compared to the rural population.

Thus, the policy intervention to the importance of multigenerational family settings, the regulatory framework for old age homes, and encouragement of short-term care facilities for the elderly population along with rising awareness about social security policies among the ageing population will bring a major change in elderly care in India.  It will bring respective families closer to elderly members along with the development of supporting public infrastructure for elderly care over time to sustain India’s ageing population.