India’s demographic challenge and business opportunity

Data shows that India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. With 7.4% annual rate growth between July and September 2015.

Culture is one of the ingredients behind this number, people are moving the economy forward, so its fair enough to leave the fall in commodity prices and manufacturing activity for some other time…

While this economic growth is enviable, India needs to grow even faster if it is to create jobs for its large population of youth.

One of the challenges faced by India is creating jobs for people entering the work force, as India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. A following challenge is to provide care for the aging population.

Currently, India has 100 million elderly people, it is the world’s second highest population of elders, and its estimated more than triple by 2050!

The problem really shapes up, as in India, senior citizens are not covered by social security network. A minuscule number of Government employees and few private sector workers retire with pensions. The unorganized sector workers who form over 94 % of the work force are not covered by any sort of pension schemes which guarantees living and medication to elders.

Well, there is one scheme, persons above 60 years get a pension of Rs. 200 per month, and those over 80 years get Rs. 500 per month under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) constituted by the Ministry of Rural Development. This is less than 5 dollars per month. In India, the most traditional street food dish- masala dosa (featured image), version where lots of garlic onions are added- costs approximately 40 rupees. However this “pension scheme” is only for those below the Poverty Line.

It gets scarier, the Delhi government runs only one old-age home!

The elderly manage to survive in India as traditionally, elderly people live with their grandchildren and in laws.
But this extension family support network is changing as young people are relocating themselves seeking for job opportunities in other states (urban migration), seniors are choosing to maintain their own independence and poverty knocks the door, making family support for elderly expensive and unbearable.

With every challenge, it comes opportunities- business opportunities. Such as startups, accelerators that improve the lives of the elderly.

Investment in facilities are needed, big investment! And the country needs to create a business friendly environment to attract entrepreneurs, finally, pressure for better policy is a must!
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