Youth and Elderly in Modi 2.0

Harashankar Adhikari

Modi 2.0 has taken oath with huge people's mandate. What has brought this glorious victory that might be debated even upto 2014. How people look at Modi 2.0 about its planning, policy and programme for the betterment of two generations—youth and elderly? India's most populous segment is youth and elderly. The census of India estimates 65% of the population is below 35 years. On the other hand, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years of above) in India (Census Report, 2011) and a joint report of the United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India reminds that the number of elderly would be expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. Youth of India seeks a job to lead their future survival, and elderly expects an all-round measure for happily death, beside an agonised survival.

The slogan of Modi 20 is 'Sabka bikash sabka sath sabka biswas'. It might be hopefully attractive. What are the strategies to meet the slogan in reality? Perhaps it is just a theoretical slogan.

'Sankalp Patra' of NDA (election manifesto) did not show clear cut planning and programme for these two most (populous segments. Although they have been voted for NDA with some hopes doubts for 2nd time.

Various reports and records alarmed that NDA (2014-2019) had been failed to create employment for youth and unemployment have become an overburden to India. It would be a great trouble/crisis for India's socio-economic and unrest among people. During 2014-19, Skilling India programme had been failed to create employment. It was just wastage of government revenues. The Skilling India programme has benefited the trainer agencies than the trainees. Training result showed only about 10% of the trainees had been absorbed in meaningful employment. Almost heavy industrialisation was nothing and no hope for the future. But day by day number of educated youth is increasing with technical skill and knowledge.

In Sankalp Patra, it was proposed to facilitate entrepreneurship with loan facility. Was it a research based proposal? It has bean observed that scope of entrepreneurship is a huddle comparing to the products of today's open market. Due to severe unemployment problem, youth are being abused they are/have to be involved in unrest and addiction to various indulgences and intoxication are in alarming threat. They are directionless, and this vibrant future is in a threshold of social, economic and cultural agony. Today's agriculture sector is a sick industry. Governments are trying to compensate through some ex-gratia i.e. yearly grant. But there is no a meaningful step for revival of this most valuable sector of employment and production. Unfortunately, people have forgotten that the country witnessed the impact of the green revolution. Government has rarely taken steps to generate employment based on agriculture and agro-based industries through quality control, export from the field and smart agriculture market. It might create a scope of employment among youth as per their capacity in different segments.

The second segment of population is elderly. The nation is neglecting more experienced and respectful resource without improper planning and policies. Today's elderly is victims of broken family and broken social structure. In a study (2012) on elderly poverty in India by Srivastava and Mohanty estimated that about '18 million elderly in India are living below the poverty line'.

From a study of IANS (2017) revealed that 'if the pension continues to cover only 35 percent of senior citizens as it does today, 20 million, or 61.7 percent of India's elderly population, will be without any income security by 2050. The Centre pays Rs 200 per month under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) to every Indian over the age of 60 and living under the poverty line (the ability to spend Rs 33 per day in urban and Rs 27 per day in rural areas as per the Tendulkar committee on the poverty line). The states are encouraged to add to this sum and are free to expand the coverage. Currently, states pay anything between Rs 20 and Rs 2,000 as public pensions'. Further there is a few percents of them availing the benefit of IGNOAPS.
There is need of community based elderly resource centres for revival their condition true sense a national building. Why poor elderly has to pass their days with hunger, ill-health and ignorance in a welfare state—India. After all they are taking part to form a government for 'Sabka bikash sabka sath sabka biswas'. Beside this poor elderly, a minor percentage of elderly depends on the interest from various social security schemes (Monthly Income Saving). But government is deliberately trying to cut down the interest rate. How would it be made country's progress and development?

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Vol. 52, No. 18, Nov 3 - 9, 2019