call for universal healthcare and pensions for India’s elderly

We should start looking at universal health insurance for the elderly, not restricting it to merely BPL [below poverty line] patients, but extending it to the middle-class as well. We need helplines, the establishment of a national trust for the aged and a national commission for senior citizens. Sadly, as a society, we do not care for our elderly and hence the lack of will.

The government needs [also] … to help future generations benefit and live longer … with some sort of a universal pension plan.

Poonam Muttreja, “Too little done to provide elderly with social, financial security“, Deccan Chronicle, 17 January 2018.

Ms. Poonam Muttreja heads the Population Foundation of India (PFI), a New Delhi-based NGO. The Deccan Chronicle is published in Hyderabad (Telangana) and other Deccan regions, including Kerala. The newspaper has more than a million subscribers.

The BPL is supposed to identify families living in extreme poverty, but its application is very uneven, inefficient and corrupt. Many families who are poor enough to qualify are excluded, while non-poor families are often counted as poor.

Only 18% of India’s population over 60 years of age have access to a monthly social pension of 200 Rupees (3 US$), and the beneficiaries are not India’s poorest.

 

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