There is much talk everywhere about India's demographic dividend with debates ranging from how India's growing young population will make India a world economic leader sooner rather than later to how the same young population may turn out to be a drag on the economy with no employment opportunities to offer them.
In all this hype on the demographic dividend, one critical fact has to be kept in mind by our planners, economists and social thinkers is that India also has a rising population of the elderly. It is estimated that India's elderly population will reach 173 million by 2026. Much of this population will consist of the poor, underprivileged and women who will need some kind of financial and psychological support. There are other vulnerable groups as well – like women, differently abled, marginalized, unorganized labour- all of whom require some kind of support from the government to sustain their lives. Social security is a covenant that promises support to these vulnerable sectors of society, a covenant that cannot and should not be broken by a democratic government. Fortunately, our constitutional framers had built in provisions for social security for various sections of the population in Article 43 of the Constitution. And, successive governments have faithfully ensured the upkeep of the spirit of the Article.
Schemes like Indira Gandhi old Age Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme ensure social security for the elderly...
Realising that the welfare of the farmer is a key to economic stability, the government introduced schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Kisan Credit Card for facilitating funding of various agricultural activities like buying seeds, fodder for cattle, fertilizers, etc...
It is an understood philosophy of a democratic state that it cannot ignore the problems of its population. The government of the country is duty bound to address the problems of its vulnerable sections. Social security is, therefore, one of the essential factors in good governance. As John F. Kennedy said " “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." A government that believes in governance of the poor and for the poor has necessarily to plan and execute policies and programmes for social security of the vulnerable sections.