The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India traditionally enjoyed a robust joint family system and the fast changing socio-economic conditions ware leading to its disintegration. He was addressing the gathering at the 18th National Conference of Senior Citizens organized by the All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON), at Hyderabad today.
The Vice President said that there was an inherent social security in our joint family system as it took great care of the elderly. He said that with the emergence of nuclear families, the elderly were increasingly getting neglected and their dignity was also adversely affected. Whenever the family system fails in its duty to protect the elderly, the community, civil society and the government have to step in to fill the vacuum, he added.
The Vice President also expressed his concern over the instances of children abandoning their parents and said the neglect and abuse of the elderly was “abhorrent and completely unacceptable”.
Naidu said that in spite of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizens Act 2007, the number of cases of children abandoning their elderly parents was on the rise. Apart from abandonment, the elderly also faced neglect, abuse, physical, verbal and emotional and other forms of violence, he added.
The Vice President said that currently, there were an estimated 10.5 crore elderly in India and by 2050 the figure would reach 32.4 crore. Worldwide, by 2050 every fifth person will be an elder person and there will be 64 countries including India where 30% of the population will be 60 plus, he added.
Pointing out that more than 70% of our elders reside in rural areas, the Vice President said the rise in rural population of senior citizens was due to large scale migration of younger generation to urban areas. The elderly in rural areas were facing deprivation, discrimination, dispossession, loneliness and abuse, he added.