Population of elderly to touch 100 mn mark by 2013

New Delhi: The population of elderly people in the country is increasing at a phenomenal rate and is expected to reach the 100 million mark by 2013, government told the Lok Sabha today.

In a written reply to the House, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "The Population Projection made by Technical Group on Population Projections indicated that 100 million mark is expected to be reached in 2013."

The projection made by the United Nations has indicated that India will have 198 million people aged 60 and above. By 2050, the figure will reach 326 million, Azad said.

On steps taken to ensure medical facilities for the elderly, he said, "Government has launched the National Program for Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE) in 2010-11 to address health related problems of elderly people."

The major components of the NPHCE during 11th Five Year Plan were establishment of dedicated hospitals for elderly and creating Department of Geriatric at identified medical centres. "Funds have been released to eight Regional Geriatric Institutions and 91 districts in 20 states," he said.

Government also plans to construct 30-bedded Department of Geriatric in eight identified Regional Medical Institutions in different regions of the country.

In reply to a question on "unsafe abortions", the Minister said, "As per the estimates published by researchers from Guttmacher Institute, New York and WHO in the Lancet in Jan 2012, unsafe abortions constitute 65 per cent of the total abortions in the South Central Asian sub-region."

Estimates of the proportion of unsafe abortions are not provided separately for India which is one of the countries in this sub-region, he said.

To a question on creating public awareness against tobacco consumption, Azad said, "Government has taken measures to create public awareness and mass media campaign for awareness building and for behavioural change under National Tobacco Control Program."

Comprehensive mass media anti-tobacco campaign has been run all over the country through electronic and print media for creating awareness on harmful effects of tobacco consumption and second-hand smoke, he said, adding outdoor media campaign was launched in 2011-12 through DAVP.

"In current financial year, an amount of Rs 26 crore has been earmarked under Budget Estimates for running anti-tobacco campaigns," he said. In 2011-12, government had allocated Rs 28.99 crore for the purpose and Rs 27.56 crore was duly spent out of this.