Elderly Jobless in Bangalore

India’s high tech city of Bangalore may have provided jobs to thousands of youngsters but almost ninety per cent of the half a million population of senior citizens in Bangalore are looking for a job. They have no pension plans to take care of them.

Bangalore has become the tech hub of South India with most of the major IT companies having their offices here. It is a city where the young thrive. But a problem of great magnitude is eating up the social fabric of the city. According to figures of Karnataka’s Department of Welfare of Disabled and Senior Citizens, Bangalore city has a total population of 5.28 million people. Of this entire population, there are 565, 668 elderly people in the city.

But the shocking fact is that eighty-seven per cent of the 565,668 elderly people have no pension plans to take care of them at the latter stages of their life. These senior citizens may have retired from their jobs some time ago but are facing a financial crisis with no income or pension plans to support them. With continuing rise in inflation, it has become difficult for them to survive in a city like Bangalore. Hence these senior citizens are all looking for jobs from which they cans support themselves and their families. But jobs for senior citizens are not easy to find with the youth being preferred to them in almost all the jobs.

This is where the state government needs to take an initiative and try and provide jobs for the elderly. There are many Non Governmental Organizations working for the senior citizens but a bigger effort from the part of the government is the need of the hour.

Most of these senior citizens even after retiring from their respective jobs are physically as well as mentally fit to take up another job. But it is not easy to find one. They are all in desperate need of a job to empower them financially as their life savings are fast reducing.

This is a problem not limited to the city of Bangalore; senior citizens from all over the country face it. India is home to the highest population of youngsters in the world and in another 25 years, it would take over as the home to the highest population of senior citizens in the world. Right now, there are almost eighty million people over the age of sixty all over India and again almost ninety per cent of them are not covered under any pension or retirement plans.

Some of these elders do not have children to take care of them and they do need a job to be able to carry the monthly expenditures. In other cases, many youngsters leave their parents and settle abroad and again their parents are left behind without any income to fend for themselves. In certain cases, it is more a matter of financially empowering them and enabling them to lead a life of dignity without having to ask anyone for money.

There can be several part time jobs that can be made available to senior citizens such as that of teachers, government officers, small-scale industries and even work from home jobs so that they can work as well as earn enough to support their family. Initiatives in this regard have been taken up by NGOs like Nightingales Medical Trust which has helped seventy two senior citizens get a job in the past four years. But with more than five lakh senior citizens still jobless and in dire need of an income, the effort will have to be a much bigger one. Atleast the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 should be implemented soon. The bill, if passed, makes it legally necessary for children to provide maintenance to their parents. As a society itself we need to put ourselves in their shoes to imagine the trauma that they are going through and hence introduce senior citizen jobs to financially empower them.

Shishir Srivastava

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the experienced class