TODAY -

Retirement age at 65 or 70 or 55 ?

Free Thinker *



According to the latest Economic Survey India’s demographic growth is likely to grow under 0.5 % during 2031-2041 as a result of decline in fertility rate and increase in life expectancy. “Since an increase in the retirement age is perhaps inevitable, it may be worthwhile signalling this change well in advance – perhaps a decade before the anticipated shift – so that the workforce can be prepared for it”( Economic Survey 2018-2019).

The Economic Survey was presented on 4th of July in Parliament by our gracious Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman. This has been the convention to present the Economic Survey just a day before the presentation of the Union General Budget.

In the Economic Survey it was indirectly hinted that enhancement of the retirement age will enable the government to plan in advance for pensions and other retirement provisions. Obviously the life expectancy for both ladies and gentlemen in the country will shoot up in the years to come.

The level of healthcare is tremendously heightened due the influence of Yoga and Vedic cure. Modi care is also there to take care of the poor people. Moreover all kinds of health tips are available in the net.

Many unsolicited health advisories come through Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. It seems now everyone will reach 80/90 easily and some may even cross a century.

Taking into account the fast increasing life expectancy Government may like to rise the retirement age not because of their experience , ability and proficiency but because of some financial reasons. Many countries have started raising the age of superannuation.

As a matter of fact due to enormous aging population and increasing pressure on pension funding even the most advanced countries have begun raising the pensionable retirement age.

Some few days back I read a letter addressed to the editor of a National Daily stating that there should be a retirement age for politicians too. She was referring to a country where the age of the Prime Minister is 94 years .

I think she was referring to Mahathir Mohamad the Malaysian Prime Minister. Physically and mentally he is fit; they claim. Despite all claims it is common sense that after 60/70 our physical, mental and intellectual ability diminishes gradually. This is universal truth.

Yes of course few exceptions may be there here and there . I agree with the letter writer. But what will be the right year for the politicians to retire. With due respect to Advaniji , Mahathir sab, Elizabeth II , Beji Caid , Sheikh Sabab AL-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah , Karan Singh, etc let us make the retirement age at 100 or till death whichever is earlier.

Recently I received a WhatsApp message rather a press clip on WhatsApp . The message – How old is old ?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that 65 years is still young. Long-time back in Britain 50 years of age is considered old. At present in India old age pension is given at the age of 60.

And this is also the age when government extends all facilities and amenities in the name of senior citizens.The United Nations has not adopted a standard criteria but lately 60 years old was referred as the border age to the word old.

However the WHO had conducted a global research and found out the average age, health quality and life expectancy and quality of life, and defined a new yardstick that divides human age as follows: upto 17 years old - underage; from 18 to 65 - young people;66 to 79 years old - middle aged;80 to 99 years old - senior citizens ; 100 years and above – long lived elderly.

Some Doctors , Professors, College Lecturers, Supreme Court judges are retiring at the age of 65. So , going by the logic of the Economic Survey and the latest categorization of age group by the WHO their retirement age may be increased to 70 if not 75. And those who are retiring at the age of 60/62 may now be superannuated at 65.

However there is a strong view on the contrary, youngsters maintain that retirement age should be lowered ; their argument is that the most productive age group is 20 to 50 ; with a 5 year bonus people should retire at the age of 55.

Keeping in view the mass unemployment scenario and productive- age criteria one must ideally retire at 50 and at the most 55 . Scientists, specialists and highly motivated professionals may continue for some more years.

People will have a long life to live even after retirement. After 2030 India is going to have a humongous population of senior citizens and elderly people. What should they do ?

One Bureaucrat who has just retired says that senior citizens and retirees can do a lot of things -
they may associate with NGOs / Clubs for doing social service;
they may involve themselves in Sports organizations/associations according to their interest;
they may render free services in Temples, Gurudwaras , Masjids, Churches etc;
or they may participate in the cultural activities or join cultural organizations like the RSS;
or they may even join active politics and remain active till death.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 19 2019.



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