Friday, February 26, 2010

Senior citizens speak up prior to the Union Budget -HelpAge India Survey

As per a random sample survey of Senior Citizens conducted through Senior Citizens Associations across the country by HelpAge India, it has been found that 82.5% of the elderly have been affected adversely by the rise in prices over the last year and 92.4% feel that the Govt. has done nothing in this regard. The lower and the middle income groups have been hit the hardest. 71.6% elderly have cut down on their health expenditure and 40.8% have curtailed expense on nutrition in their diets. 27.8% have witnessed tension/anxiety levels grown in their families due to which their relationships have been strained.



“We have made a representation to the Union Finance Minister for higher exemption to the children who support their older parents. This is needed as there are virtually no institutional support systems for the older persons in the lower and middle income groups and children are their only support system.” says Mr. Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive, HelpAge India.



Around 400 senior citizens during the survey came forward to speak about their dissatisfaction with the Govt. on its failure to control price rise. 84% of the elderly demand subsidized food articles through ration shops & subsidized medical services. 82% want further exemption in Income Tax. 58% elderly across India are looking for a structured re-employment programme by the Govt. Also, an astounding 71.1% want IT exemptions for children who are spending money to maintain their old parents.



The trend has not been very different in some major cities and states too. “With the increase in longevity and an increase in the number of elderly above 80 years or more, the burden on 60 plus age groups has double. They have to cope up with their own diminishing incomes & at the same time account for their old parents’ medical & other costs.” added Mr. Kapil Kaul, Country Head (Advocacy, Resource, Communications),



75.4% senior citizens in Delhi, 76.8% in Kolkata, 70% in Maharashtra and 91% in Tamil Nadu, have also demanded elderly-friendly and easy-to-access Health Insurance Schemes in the upcoming budget. Another major finding has been that approximately 90% of elderly in Uttar Pradesh, 88% in Maharashtra, 80% in Patna, 79% in Gujarat, 76% in Haryana and 61% in Delhi are looking for re-employment opportunities to sustain themselves in inflation struck times. 95% elderly in Kerala are also looking for provisions pertaining to lowering of property/house tax.




The senior citizens of the country, irrespective of any state are clearly unhappy with the Govt. at the centre at present and want it to take more action in controlling the menace of price rise and provide subsidized medical services & food items.



In order to understand the perspective of India’s Senior Citizens holistically, the survey was conducted amongst 12 states in India; namely, Delhi, Maharastra (Mumbai, Pune & Nagpur), Kolkata, Gujarat (Ahmedabad), Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore, Madurai & Chennai), Haryana (Faridabad), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), M.P. (Bhopal), Punjab (Chandigarh), Bihar (Patna), A.P. (Hyderabad) and Kerala (Kochi).



For more details, contact: Mr. Mathew Cherian – Chief Executive, HelpAge India [9810042046]; Mr. Kapil Kaul – CH (Advocacy, Resource & Communications) [9810782340]; Sonal Kapoor, Mgr- Communications (HelpAge India): 9540781011

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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