Centre announces project to support start-ups developing innovative solutions for elderly

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) Aiming to encourage the youth to find innovative solutions to help senior citizens, the government on Friday announced a project to select, support and create a one-stop access point of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups.

Elaborating on the Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) project, Secretary of the Department of Social Justice R Subrahmanyam said the cause of the elderly has to be taken up at the national level and everybody has to come together for it.

'We want to encourage well-meaning youth and the private sector to step in and bring forth innovative products, processes and services for the elderly which is presently not there,' he told PTI.

'These innovative solutions may not be commercially viable immediately, so we need to support them for some time,' he said.

As part of the project, start-ups will be selected on the basis of innovative products and services which they should be able to provide across sectors such as health, housing, care centres, apart from technological access linked to finances, food and wealth management and legal guidance, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said in a statement.

The start-ups can apply to be a part of SAGE through a dedicated portal which will be open from Saturday.

The selection will be done by an independent committee of experts. The first set of selected start-ups will be hosted on the portal within a period of two months and a fund of Rs 1 crore as one-time equity will be granted to each of them.

The SAGE project aims to identify, evaluate, verify, aggregate and deliver products, solutions and services directly to the stakeholders. The ministry will act as a facilitator, enabling the elderly to access the products through these identified start-ups, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said.

The project is shaped by the recommendations of an empowered expert committee report on start-ups for the elderly.

Asked if the project has been announced keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the concept was thought of before the second wave struck.

'We have seen that in the pandemic many innovative ideas have come and this will help in better preparedness of the country as and when the next wave strikes,' Subrahmanyam said. PTI UZM NSD NSD

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