The government is drawing up a regulatory framework for providing healthcare to the elderly within the country. It plans to outline standards and operational guidelines for service providers as the country braces to provide care to its aging population, which is expected to double over the next 30 years.
The NITI Aayog held several rounds of stakeholder consultations with industry and ministries concerned, including health and family welfare and social justice and empowerment, on the issue, said a senior government official.
“As the elderly healthcare market is poised for growth, a regulatory framework is essential. This would include accreditation standards, licensing requirements, policy support to providers, and clinical guidelines for personal operators within the sector to make sure healthcare services are provided to the elderly at affordable rates,” said the official, who did not wish to be identified. It is estimated that by 2050, India will have 330 million or 19% of its total population in the 60-plus age group . Government data shows that the population over the age of 60 years has more than tripled in India in the past. As per census 2011, the number of elderly people (60-plus years) in the country was 103.83 million, which is projected to extend to 133.32 million (2021), 178.59 million (2031), 236.01 million (2041), and 300.96 million (2051). The projection for 2051 is 125.7% over that for 2021.
The government is of the view that non-communicable diseases, including lifestyle-related and degenerative, being extremely common in older people, compel them to require professional healthcare services for day-to-day activities. Currently, the govt provides healthcare facilities to the elderly under the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) run by the health ministry and National Action Plan for Senior Citizens by the ministry of social justice and empowerment. Under the NPHCE, launched in 2010-11, the government provides dedicated healthcare facilities to senior citizens (above 60 years of age) at various levels of primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare. Further, the National Action Plan for Senior Citizens, renamed Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVAY), helps senior citizens get re-employment and livelihood and skilling support.
Source: Economics Times