The Problem of an Ageing Population
High population has been a matter of growing concern for the Bangladesh government over the past few years. The country is now facing a new crisis in the form of an ageing population. Life expectancy has increased over the last few decades while the fertility rate is plunging down rapidly contributing steadily to a population that is an ageing majority.
The government is making efforts to ease the discomfort of its senior citizens by announcing old age security schemes and also by relocating its expenditure plans. In a sensible move, they have involved NGOs to gather input about the developing situation and get suggestions from experts on the best methodology to tackle the situation in the future. However, given the limited resources and budget deficits, it can be a huge challenge to find solutions of such nature easily.
As the government is forced to commit more economic resources to this economically unproductive segment, it can have serious repercussions on the growth and development of the country – a truly dangerous situation indeed for the future generation.
The elderly population residing in the interiors and rural areas are going to be the more severely affected. The extreme poverty that they face makes it impossible to save and have any sort of assets. Chronic poverty is the bane of a lifetime for such people with the situation going to go downhill in the coming decades.
According to official figures about 44 percent of the rural population is poor with 26 percent being the corresponding figure for the urban population. Their problem remains compounded by the migration of children in search of better living opportunities and lack or resources to eke out a decent living. Lack of skills and failing health further contribute to the creation of a vicious circle of poverty and helplessness.
NGOs have been advocating effective management of ageing to ensure that the effects of the condition are mitigated when the problems unleashes itself in full force on the helpless ageing population of Bangladesh. Advancing retirement age is a solution that can work well because of the longer life expectancy. There can be an impact on employment opportunities but the impact can be offset with innovative labor reform plans.
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