On the occasion of senior citizen’s day August 21, 2022, I salute senior citizens because I believe senior citizens are still the guiding spirit of any country, any society, or even any family. Senior citizens as per Income Tax’s interpretation in India, “An individual resident who is 60 years or above in age but less than 80 years at any time during the previous year is considered as Senior Citizen for Income Tax purposes. A Super Senior Citizen is an individual resident who is 80 years or above, at any time during the previous year”. According to the law in India, a “senior citizen” means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above. The concept of World Senior Citizen Day was initiated by the former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. He instituted it the day after signing a Proclamation on August 19, 1988. Later on December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared August 21 as World Senior Citizens Day. Anyway, in the context of India, it may be mentioned that “according to Population Census 2011 there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. A Report released by the United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. According to the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections for India and States 2011-2036, there are nearly a 138million elderly persons in India in 2021 (67 million males and 71 million females) and is further expected to increase by around 56 million elderly persons in 2031. Both the share and size of the elderly population are increasing over time. From 5.6% in 1961 the proportion increased to 8.6% in 2011. The proportion increased to 10.1% in 2021 and is further likely to increase to 13.1% in 2031. For males, it was marginally lower at 8.2%, while for females it was 9.0%”. (vikaspedia.in/social-welfare/senior-citizens-welfare).
In the context of world senior citizens, I wish to mention a few points from the Report on “World Population Ageing 2019” published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, New York, 2020. “Globally, there were 703million persons aged 65 or over in 2019. 1 The region of Eastern and South-Eastern Asia was home to the largest number of older persons (261million), followed by Europe and Northern America (over 200 million)”. Another important finding is “Over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in2050. All regions will see an increase in the size of the older population between 2019 and 2050. The largest increase (312 million) is projected to occur in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, growing from 261 million in 2019 to 573million in 2050. The fastest increase in the number of older persons is expected in Northern Africa and Western Asia, rising from 29 million in 2019 to96 a million in 2050 (an increase of 226 percent). The second fastest increase is projected for sub-Saharan Africa, where the population aged 65 or over could grow from 32 million in 2019 to 101 million in 2050 (218 percent). By contrast, the increase is expected to be relatively small in Australia and New Zealand (84 percent) and in Europe and Northern America (48 percent), regions where the population is already significantly older than in other parts of the world”. It may be noted here that “Not only has the absolute number of older persons increased globally but also the share of older persons in the total population has increased and is projected to continue to grow in all regions. The percentage of persons aged 65 or over worldwide has grown from 6 percent in 1990 to 9 percent in 2019 and is projected to increase further to 16 percent in 2050”. Lastly, I wish to mention from the Report that, “In 2019, the largest numbers of persons aged 80 or older were found in Europe and Northern America (53.9 million) and in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (48.6 million). By 2020, more than half of the population at ages 80 years and above will live in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (177 million), followed by Europe and Northern America (109 million.). The largest increments in the population at ages 80 and above – in all cases over 250 percent – are projected for Northern Africa and Western Asia, for Oceania, and for Eastern and South-Eastern Asia”. From the UN Report, it is evident that the longevity of senior citizens (65 years and above, UN has taken into account 65 years as a senior citizen) in the world has been increasing.
I was born in a joint family and observed the behaviour of some citizens in our family and still cherishing their knowledge, wisdom, and guidance, which in one word is fantastic.