KITE (KARNATAKA'S INITIATIVE ON TECHNOLOGY BASED SOLUTIONS FOR ELDERLY)

India is home to 125 Crore citizens and its "Demographic Dividend" by virtue of the young work force under 25 years of age has been talked-about across the globe. However, the elderly i.e. citizens >60 years of age (accounting for about 25% of the population) have received limited attention. Global age-watch index ranks countries based on quality of life for elderly. In 2016, India ranked at 71st position out of 96 countries with only 28% of the elderly population being covered by pension. We do not have a National Policy on Ageing yet. It was for the first time in the 12th Five-year plan (2012-17) that the Planning Commission of Govt. of India included a focus on Geriatrics. Taking cognisance of these observations, the Department of IT, BT and S&T initiated "KITE: Karnataka's Initiative on Technology-based-solutions for the Elderly". The Mission and Vision of this project is to identify pain-points of the elderly in Indian conditions, develop indigenous technology-based solutions to assist the requirements & limitations due to decline in physical condition with age to impart self-reliance and improved quality of life to this section of society in their silver years.

An active group has been constituted with experts from various sectors/ domains / specializations comprising of

i. Engineers

ii. Geriatricians & Heads of Senior Citizen Clinics in large hospitals

iii. Product Designers

iv. Dentists

v. Specialists

    a. Neurosurgeons

    b. Dermatologists

vi. NGOs working with elderly and

vii. The policy makers & enablers

The discussion was focused on Indian conditions & contexts. An initial list of about 20 pain-points have identified. It was decided to submit three most-relevant projects for funding to Govt. of India. An approval of about Rs. 2.3 Crore has been obtained and initial instalment has been received from Govt. of India. Indian Institute of Science is the implementation partner of the KITE project. Currently three prototypes have been developed and are under trial stage. Names of the technologies already funded for prototype development are:

1.   Easy Chair for the Elderly and Arthritic Patients

2.   Protective Device for Elderly during a Fall

3.   Assistive device for elderly people for easy entry into Railway coaches

Five brain-storming sessions, two round-table discussions and two workshops have been conducted so far. Several national and international agencies have expressed interest to collaborate with the Department's KITE project. It is proposed to formalise the KITE expert group into 'KITE-Advisory-Committee' and develop this initiative further.