While India seeks to harness its young population to drive growth, it must also start planning for increased expenditure on health and welfare services for the elderly. Fertility rates in India are declining as life expectancy increases: there will be more than 300 million Indians over the age of 60 by 2050. ‘Indians never seem to retire’ has been said of people in various sectors, particularly in urban areas, as many continue to work for several years after retirement. Nevertheless, the shifting demographics will add to the burden of inadequate healthcare, welfare services and families.
Elderly women, who will outnumber men, are expected to be the most vulnerable. In addition, there are interesting opportunities and challenges of elderly parents remaining in India while their children have migrated. To tackle these challenges, India must develop policies to ensure that its older citizens too have healthy and happy lives
In the power sector alone, India plans to add some 70,000 MW in the next five years. The dominant source of power will be coal, which accounts for some 60% of power generation. Coal is infamous for its significant environmental effects, including gaseous emissions, high ash content, problems with disposal of ash and its large emissions of carbon-dioxide.