Centre urged to include old age in CSR initiatives
With the aspect of old age being left out of the purview of the mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives spelt out by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, a rights group working for the aged has urged Union Minister Sachin Pilot to consider including the group. They said it would enable the elderly to get patronage and support from the corporate world.
The Agewell Foundation has, in a letter, noted that the concept of mandatory CSR provisions for the corporate world has opened vistas of opportunities for the destitute, downtrodden and the vulnerable sections of the society.
However, it noted that despite the elderly constituting almost 8.5 per cent of the total population, “while all other important issues have been included, the aspect of old age has somehow not been touched upon. With the result all initiatives to assist old people could once again remain without patronage and support from the corporate world”.
Himanshu Rath of Agewell Foundation said it was a much desired step.
“Currently in India, the population of old people is growing at a very fast pace. There are over 103 million old people in India today. Over 17,000 people are entering in the bracket of old age (60-plus years) every day. On the other hand, life span of older persons has also increased remarkably over the past decades. Life expectancy at the age of 60 has increased up to 20 years,” he spelt out.
Mr. Rath noted, “India’s elderly population will increase dramatically over the next four decades.” He added, “The share of India’s population aged 60 and above is projected to climb from 8 per cent in 2010 to 19 per cent in 2050, according to the United Nations Population Division (UN 2011).” In view of the cut throat competition in today’s life, nuclear lifestyle and longer life span in old age, the Foundation said the older people have become most vulnerable, deprived and isolated. “They need support mechanisms in the form of helplines, voluntary assistance, interaction centres, old age homes, health and legal services, skill-development training, opportunities for second career after retirement, healthcare givers, advocacy services along with continuous research about their needs and rights.”
To support all this, it said, the need of the hour was to encourage the corporate sector to also chip in.