Status of Elderly People in Nepal

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FOR PARTICIPANTS ONLY ESID/HLM-MIPAA/6 9 October 2007 ENGLISH ONLY

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC High-level Meeting on the Regional Review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) 9-11 October 2007 Macao, China

Elderly People in Nepal What happened after MIPPA, 2002?
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Nepal Participatory Action Network

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This paper was prepared by Mr. Bhola Prasad Dahal, Immediate Past Chairperson/Executive Committee Member, Nepal Participatory Action Network, Nepal, for the High-level Meeting on the Regional Review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), 9-11 October 2007, Macao, China. The views expressed do not necessary reflect those of the United Nations. The paper has been reproduced as submitted.

Elderly People in Nepal
What happened after MIPPA, 2002?
“Matri devo bhawah, pitri devo bhawah and guru devo bhawah” By Bhola Pd Dahal, NEPAN

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Introduction

Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries ranking 138 out of 177 in the human development index Nepal is a naturally beautiful country of 147,181 sq km in the south Asia region having 885 km in east-west direction and with a mean north-south width of 193 km. Nepal is renowned for socio-cultural diversity having more than 101 ethnic groups, 92 language, ten religions and three geographical regions with a population of 23.1 million people living 157 persons per sq km which was just 40 in 19111. The 2001 census showed that 57.5 % of the population belonged to a caste, 2/3 of them living in the hills and 1/3 in the Tarai. Dalits (untouchables) who make up 13.6% of the population are one of the most disadvantaged and backward groups2. It has five development regions: Eastern, Central, Western, Mid-western and Far-western with 14 zones, 75 districts, 58 municipalities and 3915 village development committees which are further divided into small political units called wards. National standard living survey 2003/4 reports that poverty incidence decreased from 42% in 1995/6 to 31% in 2003/4, however rural urban disparity still exist (rural poverty-35% and urban poverty-10%)3. A significant increase in remittances, increase in wages, improved connectivity and access to markets, urbanization, and falling birth rates were behind this decline. Household receiving remittances went up to 32% in 2004 from 23% in 1996 (MoF, 2006) Security budget has 18% in 2006 which was just 5% in 19994. Life expectancy at birth is 61.4 years (female has lower) where as adult literacy rate is 48% (64.5 for male and 33.8% for female. 80% of economically active population live in agriculture where as agriculture has only 39.2% of GDP. 20% of rich people controls over 54.6% of resources where as 20% poor people has just 6% income5. Investment and progress so far shows that government is not in a position to achieve the MDG which has also resource gap of 7.6 billion dollars. In our country, age 60 and above are demarcated as elderly population. Ageing is a natural phenomenon and an inevitable process in life. Every living being born, develops, grows old and dies. Ageing is a process of gradual change in physical appearance and mental situation that cause a person to grow old. We also recognize the problem that arises in the family due to age and generation gap goes up to national level. But, is it justified to discard the old parents who offered their entire life to empower their children? Can we forget the labor-pain of the mother and hard work of the father who worked day-in-and-day-out to bring up their children? For most of us, old people may be troublesome. Nevertheless, we should not forget our duty towards them. Ageing population means an increase in the share of the elderly in the total population. It is closely related with the dynamic process of demographic and socioeconomic transformation. Whether a population is young or old, or getting older or getting younger, it depends on the proportion of...
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