- Aging & Longevity
Life Expectancy Rises in India
World Health Organization Statistics
The latest World Health Organization (WHO) data on life expectancy1, published in 2015, revealed an improvement in the numbers in India, with total life expectancy pegged at 68.3, with males at 66.9 and women at 69.9 years. This is a definite improvement from a decade ago, when total life expectancy was evaluated at 64.1. The report also listed the top 20 causes of death in the country, with coronary heart disease taking the #1 spot, followed closely by lung disease and stroke. HIV/AIDS came in last at #20, while road traffic accidents came in at #13 and hypertension at #15. The latest WHO data shows that 1,215,414 or 13.7% of the total deaths in the country were due to coronary heart disease, putting India at the #39 position in the world for death rate due to this ailment.
Top Health Care Concerns in India
According to an article published by First Post in May 20162, one worrying statistic is that India now accounts for a larger share of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the world, with a 26.2% probability of a person dying from one of the four primary NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70. India has for a long time been facing the challenges of a high maternal mortality rate and infectious diseases. However, new challenges have emerged for the healthcare system in the country in terms of obesity, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Some of the other worrying statistics are that only 40% of the population in the country have access to improved sanitation, as of 2015. This compares to 61% in Indonesia and Bangladesh, 46% in Nepal and a whopping 95% and 98% in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, respectively. In addition, only 34% of Indians relied on clean sources of fuel in India in 2014, as compared to 95% in the Maldives. Access to better sources of drinking water, however, has improved with 94% of the population in India having access to such sources in 2015. But before you start planning to take life insurance, here is some good news.
What is the Government Doing?
According to a report on The Elderly in India3, published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Government of India in February 2016, there are 103.9 million Indians above the age of 60 years, of which 14.2 million are dependent on their families for all their needs, financial and otherwise. The government of India has been implementing various initiatives to take care of the rising elderly population and their needs. The services extended go far beyond concessions on rail and air fare. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible for the welfare of senior citizens in the country, while the Ageing Division of the Social Defense Bureau of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible specifically for developing and implementing policies and programs for the elderly, in collaboration with the state government, non-governmental organizations and the communities. Some of the programs that are already being run by the government include the Integrated Program for Older Persons (IPOP), The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of December 2007.
We Need to Do Our Bit Too
While the government might be already doing its bit to safeguard the interests of the aging population, it is up to each individual to plan ahead and prepare well for old age. India might be a country that holds family values in high esteem and joint families still exist and support the elderly. However, being dependent, even on your own children, might not be something that senior citizens look forward to. This is why starting early with retirement planning is key, say experts at Life Insurance Company. There are a variety of governmental and non-governmental pension and retirement schemes that can help you put away quite a large nest egg, if only you start early. One of the crucial investment vehicles in the country is life insurance, which not only secures the future of senior citizens but helps them leave behind a legacy for their children.