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"Synergy" of 8 SDG's can be achieved through planting fruit bearing trees by elderly and promote "Healthy Inter-generational Ageing"



8 SDG's integrated are,

Goal 1: No poverty

This proposal attempts to give financial incentive to the elderly by creating an opportunity to plant fruit bearing trees and generate income for themselves as well as for the government. 

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Our proposal clearly and specifically mentions the usage of fast growing fruit bearable trees rich in proteins and Vitamins and  to escalate the use of these fruits in order to contribute in reducing the protein energy malnourished cases eventually in India.

Goal 3: Good health and Well being & Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

The common problems of the elderly are failing health, economic insecurity, isolation, neglect, abuse, boredom (idleness), lowered self-esteem, loss of control and lack of preparedness for old age. Therefore, in our proposal planting a fruit bearing tree would increase their vitality and healthy ageing, which promotes active participation, social interaction and togetherness wherein the elderly can make groups of their age group to discuss the issues they are facing with in day to day life. 

Goal 4: Quality education 

We are proposing the introduction for a scheme by ministry of education, wherein all the grand children of the elderly who plant the trees will get a subsidy in their educational fees of up to 5%. Also, if the child with his/her grandparents  help, gets motivated and plant a tree similar to his/her grandparent then he/she gets an extra 5% in subsidy of his/her educational fees.

Goal 13: Climate action & Goal 15: Life on land

By planting 73 million trees by the elderly, 1608475 tons of Co2 is absorbed in a year. Once the environment is rich in oxygen produced by the trees then ecosystem and quality of life on land will automatically be increased.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals 

Global, National and Regional funding agencies for environmental protection, elderly rights (health and protection), quality education and food security.






I agree with the proposal that developing countries are righteously pointing to the main reason for a warming climate due to historical greenhouse emissions of developed countries. Considering the mutual indebtedness, he proposed that developing countries joining a global climate treaty should get their debt canceled.

In our proposal we take this as an opportunity for an alternate solution wherein,

Option 1: Cancelling the debt

Option 2: Instead of paying debt permit the developing countries to use the money for social protection of the elderly who are actively involved in environmental protection through this proposal. Thereby, reducing poverty and achieving Goal 1 of SDG's. 

In addition, the proposal states Unleash the power of example where, the authors two daughters, shows evidences of how the younger one follows the example of her older sister. Something similar is also needed in the battle against climate change, we need role models to imitate and to follow. Therefore, in our proposal elderly will be the role models for both the middle aged, youths and children, which will have a huge impact to combat climate changes by 2050.

2. Swami Vivekananda Fruit-Trees Expansion Mission for environment, peace, health 

In this proposal students collected & stored the seeds of all fruits eaten at home & pooled those seeds together at schools during school opening time. They spread these seeds to grow on unused land in their schools, which can be consumed by anyone free of cost.

Firstly, the concept of fruit bearing trees gave me an insight about reducing hunger and achieving one of the SDG's for my proposal. Secondly, it helped me to think of involving school going grand children of the elderly in our proposal to continue the planting of trees for their educational benefit. Thereby, achieving SDG on quality education. 

What actions do you propose?

In addition to the proposed actions, we are creating an inter generational synergy to achieve inter generational "Healthy Ageing "

In brief, the elderly plants a fast growing fruit bearing tree rich in proteins and minerals. Once the tree starts bearing fruits, these fruits are then distributed in the market by either his children or son in laws. His children will be given an incentive of Rs 100 for the work of transporting the commodities to the government market. Once the government procures the fruits it distributes it to the anganwadis, orphanages and old age homes free of cost under ministry of social welfare scheme. 

Therefore, the money generated by the fruits will contribute to the funds allocated for food under social welfare directly. So, separate budget allocated for food under social welfare previously can be cut down with this initiative. Also, the money generated can be utilized for funding the young/middle aged persons who are involved in distribution and transportation of fruits.  

Note: The question may arise on the credibility of the distribution of the fruits from the urban/rural areas to the government markets due to various reasons. 

Option 1: The elderly should take the responsibility to make sure that the fruits are genuinely distributed

Option 2: There is need of a regulatory body to keep a check on distribution

Option 3: Make private fruit markets also available for distribution of fruits under government undertaking. 

Option 4: In worst case scenario even if the people does not send the fruits genuinely and regularly, at least their family members, relatives, friends or the needy will eat the fruits. However,  even in this case we are achieving our goal of zero hunger. 

Children component: The grandchildren of the elderly will get a subsidy in their education of 5%. In addition if they get motivated and guidance to plant a tree themselves similar to their grandparents they will get an extra 5% subsidy in their educational fees. 

This is how our proposal becomes inter generational healthy ageing, where all the three generation in a family is contributing for the upliftment and protection of the environment and achieving synergy of 8 SDG's. 


In detail description of achieving various Sustainable Development Goals through our proposal.

Goal 1: No poverty

The percentage of elderly people, classified as people above 60 years of age, is expected to go up in India from 8% in 2015 to 19 % in 2050. The country faces a major challenge on how elderly can be taken care of whose number is set to grow three-fold from around 100 million at present to 300 million by 2050.

According to a latest study conducted by Agewell Foundation, 65% of old people are poor with no source of known income. Good news is remaining 35% are still having money, properties, savings, investments, inheritance and above all supportive children. However, given the fact that the elderly population will touch 300 million by 2050, the good news becomes vanished.

India spends only 0.032% of its GDP on pensions!!!!!! 

That too India has only 25% coverage by its own records when compared to Nepal (47%) and China (74%). The central government is providing only Rs 200 per month under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension scheme the remaining amount should be contributed by individual state governments. However, if you take an average it will not cross Rs 500 in total.

Therefore, is there a need for enhancing their economic status? It’s a big YES!!!!

This proposal attempts to give financial incentive to the elderly by creating an opportunity to plant fruit bearing trees and generate income for themselves as well as for the government. By doing this they are also contributing to better environmental conditions for the future generations. The proposed financial assistance given to them would be Rs 500 per month.

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

In spite of  good economic development in India, over 200 million people are food insecure. India contributes to the largest number of hungry people in the world. In the ranking of the Global Hunger Index 2017 it attains position 100 out of 119 ranked countries and has an “serious“ food security situation. The major problem in India is the high prevalence of underweight children under five, which is a result of low nutrition and educational status of women.

As we can see in figure that in India number of under five children malnourished and stunted are very high compared to other neighboring countries.

The most common problem for undernourished and stunted conditions in under five children is due to protein energy malnourishment. This affects the child at the most crucial period of time of development, which can lead to permanent impairment in later life. PEM is measured in terms of underweight (low weight for age), stunting (low height for age) and wasting (low weight for height). The prevalence of stunting among under five in India is 48% and wasting is 19.8% and with an underweight prevalence of 42.5%, it is the highest in the world. Undernutrition predisposes the child to infection and complements its effect in contributing to child mortality. 

Keeping the current Indian Hunger Index level and increase in under nutrition cases especially protein energy malnutrition of India into consideration, our proposal clearly and specifically mentions the usage of fast growing fruit bearable trees, which needs to be planted by the elderly. The proposal also emphasises on planting fruit bearing trees rich in proteins and Vitamins and thereby, escalate the use of these fruits in order to reduce the protein energy malnourished cases eventually in India. 

Fruit bearing trees rich in Vitamins and Proteins are Papaya, Orange, Lemon, Pomegranate, Guava, Apple, Pineapple, Mango, Watermelon, Bananas etc. 

Therefore, in our proposal we emphasize that all the fruits which are produced through plantation of the trees by the elderly will be deposited in government markets. The fruits procured will be distributed to all the anganwadis [Its a type of rural mother and child (under 5) care center in India], orphanages and elderly homes free of cost by the government under Ministry of social welfare. Hence, we can take a step forward to reduce hunger in both under five and elderly of India.

Goal 3: Good health and Well-being & Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Therefore, overall our proposal will definitely enhance the quality of life of the elderly to a commendable extent.

Goal 4: Quality education

According to World Bank, education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality. They stated that education is the key to enhance India’s competitiveness in the global economy. Therefore, ensuring access to quality education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population, is central to the economic and social development of India. It also emphasized on two issues

1. Reaching out 8 million children who are not yet enrolled and to ensure retention of all students till they complete their elementary education (Grade 8)

2. Ensuring education is of good quality so it improves learning levels and cognitive skills.

However, in order to enroll these students and give quality education the main catalyst needed is again “Money” and “Resources”. Majority of Indian children are unable to achieve this major sustainable development goal just because of lack of monetary allowance.

Therefore, in order to combat this problem to a certain extent, we have proposed the introduction for a scheme by ministry of education, wherein all the grand children of the elderly who plant the trees will get a subsidy in their educational fees of up to 5%. Also, if the child with his grandparents  help, gets motivated and plant a tree similar to his grandparent then he/she gets an extra 5% in subsidy of his/her educational fees.

Hence, there will be contribution to the society as well as benefits to both the generations, which are necessary for nation building and economic growth in the long run.

Note: Since, the female literacy level in India is less and educating female children has direct effects on additional SDG's, author has the opinion that after successful implementation of the current proposal more relaxation of the subsidy in education can be given to female school going children. 

Goal 13: Climate action and Goal 15: Life on land

By planting 73 million trees by the elderly, 1608475 tons of Co2 is absorbed in a year. A tree on an average inhales 20.3 kgs of CO2 in a year and exhales enough oxygen for at least a family of two for a year. Therefore, at least 104 million people will receive enough oxygen for a year. This figure will definitely increase when their grandchildren start planting a tree along with the elderly.

Once the environment is rich in oxygen produced by the trees then ecosystem and quality of life on land will automatically be increased. For eg, Delhi Smog, the hottest issue that has taken place in India recently. It is facing heavy pollution issues due to various reasons, mainly from the burning of agricultural garbage. It has been observed that air pollution levels reached tremendously high levels, with formation of a layer of smog enveloping the city. It is a serious threat to the national capital, which has to be dealt robustly through appropriate policy changes. According to R. Gopalaswamy, this huge climate-driven air pollution amplification factor and other dust-driven environmental conditions needs to be addressed comprehensively by afforestation. Therefore, our effort in the proposal to plant fruit bearing trees will help in afforestation and absorbing deadly smogs in industrialized areas specially in metropolitan cities.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

There is indeed need and demand for global partnerships both at the global level as well as at national levels for successful planning, policy making and implementation of this proposal.

Following are the areas where public private partnerships are needed,

1. Global, National and Regional agencies for environmental protection.

2. Global, National and Regional agencies for elderly rights, health and protection.

3. Global, National and Regional funding agencies.

4. Global, National and Regional agencies for quality education.

5. Global, National and Regional agencies for food security.

Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

Elderly volunteers across India

Elderly will take responsibility to motivate both the fellow elderly and encourages the younger generations by teaching them about environmental protection.

School going children

Gets motivation from their grand parents and work for the extra 5% of their educational subsidy through planting fruit bearing trees. 

Youth and Middle aged group

Receives incentives for distribution of the fruits to markets. They should actively help the elderly in other works too.

Role of Government (Both Central and State)

Ministry of Forest 

Plays an important roles in,

  1. Selection of the locally available fast growing fruit bearing trees
  2. Facilitating the elderly in planting the trees
  3. Recruiting veterans for inspecting the trees and volunteer elderly to spread awareness about climate protection

Ministry of Education

  1. To provide educational subsidy
  2. To encourage environmental protection among school children

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Social welfare measures for the elderly

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Promoting healthy ageing through active participation in planting fruit bearing trees

Ministry of Finance

Income tax exemption for the money which they are getting under this proposal

Ministry of Labour and Employment

Enable employment opportunities for all older persons who want to work

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Any grievances related to Rs 500 incentive can be addressed under this ministry

Ministry of Human Resource Development

Encourage universities/departments/ research centers to develop and deliver appropriate educational and training material relevant to climatic changes useful for older persons. The trained elderly can deliver education in schools voluntarily 

Ministry of Rural and Urban Development

To include older persons under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and to promote and protect the right to work of such persons

Ministry of Law and Justice

Provide free legal aid to senior citizens if they face any difficulty in protecting environment (Trees)

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting 

Encourage elderly role models  to produce programmes and telecast/broadcast about climate protection

Action to be taken by,

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change along with Niti ayog(Planning commission of India) and UN agencies. 

  1. A policy will be drafted by forming a committee
  2. In the committee consciences about different synergy of stakeholders will be taken into consideration
  3. The drafted policy will be implemented by the Central government after formulating appropriate budget with the help of UN agencies, international, national and regional funding agencies. 

Authors contribution,

The author will formulate a pilot project on a small scale in order to get the idea about implementation, acceptance, feasibility and the possible bottlenecks for the program. Later, the findings of the pilot study along with necessary modifications and solutions will be submitted to the Central government for drafting the policy.

Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

Scaling of the proposal.

Actions taken,

  1. Policy level (Synergy of different ministries, funding through international and national agencies)
  2. Implementation level (Providing incentives, subsidies and starting plantations)
  3. Evaluation level (Monitoring the progress)

Geographical area: Whole of Indian geography will be considered. Both in urban and rural areas. More emphasis will be given for rural areas. 

Catalyst: Elderly are the catalyst who also act as a role model for the younger generation to scale up this process in the long run.

Education: Due to the subsidy in the educational fees the dropout rates decreases and increase in number of students results in quality education.

Population benefited: 104 million elderly and at least 50 million children. It can be scaled up future years as the proposal turns out to be successful. 

These interventions can be scaled up globally,

  1. Especially in developing countries, who are facing similar scenarios. 
  2. Special focus on Southeast Asia and Mexico where, the return on tree-planting is higher.
  3. Also, in developed countries where elderly population is drastically increasing along with climate changes



In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

At a global level, the return on tree-planting is higher in places like Southeast Asia or Mexico dense cities with considerable air pollution. So, India has a great opportunity to scale up by planting trees in near future.

In addition, in this proposal we have implemented "Healthy Inter generational Ageing". India with 1.21 billion people constitutes as the second most populous country in the world, while children represents 39% of total population of the country. The figures show that the larger number of about 29 percent constitutes Children in the age between 0-5 years. The potential age group for planting trees would be age of 6-16 years i.e. 10%

Therefore, even if we consider that 1% of the students participate in this proposal approximately 50(47.1) million additional trees can be planted apart from 73 million trees planted from the elderly. In addition, 1101695 tons of CO2 can be further absorbed in a year, thereby providing enough oxygen for additional 100 million lives. 


What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

The most innovative aspect of this proposal is "Inter generational Healthy Ageing" wherein, all the three generations are involved and interdependent in the process of environmental protection. 


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Budget in detail.

Assuming phase wise implementation of the proposal


  1. The revenue budget is calculated based fruit bearing tree; Papaya tree statistics with average fruit production of 100 pounds per year with an average price generated of $15 per year.
  2. It was estimated that investments in trees yield an average net present value (benefits less costs) of $402 per tree planted and to have an average payback period of between 8 and 19 years (depending on location, species and discount-rate assumption). Here, we have considered $300 as it is a fruit bearing tree and for 5 year duration. (According to Urban Forestry Network)

Even though at the end of 5 years the investment and the output may not seem to break even, we should not forget that following analysis are not done,

  1. Cost benefit analysis of the quality of life added to the elderly
  2. Cost benefit analysis of the quality of life added to youth/middle age
  3. Cost benefit analysis of quality of life added to the school going children
  4. Cost benefit analysis of the consumption of fruit to reduce hunger
  5. Cost benefit and cost effective analysis of the number of under 5 morbidity and mortality reduced
  6. Cost benefit analysis of decrease in school dropout and increase in quality of education

Therefore, definitely this proposal achieves synergy of SDG's and investment in this proposal is a multibagger for future generation and also for the development of the country at large.

Synergy of funds are definitely needed,

•National and state government funds for environmental protection, education, child protection, food security and elderly care

•UN agencies related to environmental protection, elderly protection, education, child protection, food security and climate change

•International, National and Regional NGO’s related to environmental protection, education, elderly protection, child protection, food security and climate change

Other budget cutting options if things does not work out,

Option 1: Start the project on voluntary basis without any incentive, however permit/give authority to the elderly to use the fruits for themselves or to sell

Option 2: If the incentive proposed is unrealistic for current Indian economy, reduce the incentives to half $3 for elderly and $1 for the youth/middle aged men. Therefore, half the budget but still the full climate rewards continues

One more probable challenge:

Since, India is a subcontinent with diverse topographical areas (Including deserts), where planting a tree might be difficult. Therefore, one of the option would be to protect the existing trees.

However, the alternate solutions should  be further explored. 

About the Authors

I am Dr Santosh K Yatnatti, Assistant Professor in Department of Community Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.

I have also done my second masters in Vitality and Ageing (Geriatrics and Gerontology) from Leyden academy of Vitality and Ageing, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

I have special interest in elderly care, protection and rights. I also have interest in restoring climate with various ideas. I believe that elderly across the globe are precious with full of wisdom and guidance. However, it is sad that they are neglected, isolated and abandoned in many places across the globe for various reasons.

So, with this proposal I have made a simple, sincere effort to enhance their economic, physical, social and psychological abilities(wherever applicable) and contribute to betterment of future generations by planting, protecting and nurturing a tree until there survival. 


List of references with their links

1. Why planting more trees is one of the smartest things a city can do


2.  Medico social problems of elderly.


3. Men more independent than women in India, even in old age


4. Reduced CO2 and Saved Trees Calculator


5. How would you feel if we told you that you could offset the carbon emissions of your entire life by planting trees?


6. National Social Assistance Scheme


7. Environment


8. UN Climate Change Organizations and Programs


9. Some consequences of rapid population growth


10. The ugly truth about old age in India.


11. 20% of population to be elderly by 2050: HelpAge India report


12. Protein Energy Malnutrition in India: The Plight of Our Under Five Children 

13. India ranked 97th of 118 in global hunger index. Link:

14. India State Hunger Index. Link:

15. Problems of the Elderly Link:

16. Education in India Link:

17. Afforestation the key to clearing Delhi's smog. Link://

18. Climate Goals for India - Ministry of Environment and Forests 

What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?

Enabling environment

Existing Policies by Government of India that supports the proposal,

Some of the goals under India's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions Towards Climate Justice, which can be fulfilled by our proposal are, 

  1. Enhancing Forests Carbon Sink-To Create additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover. Our proposal directly supports this goal by planting trees.

  2. Mobilizing Finance-To Mobilize Domestic and New & additional funds from developed countries to implement the mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.(Elderly & Youth incentive).

  3. Sustainable Lifestyle- Achieved through active inter generational healthy ageing. Promoting “Sustainable Lifestyles” based on needs based consumption.

  4. Cleaner Economic Development- Can be achieved through trading of fruits grown by the elderly.

  5. Current voluntary pledge by India-20-25% reduction in Emission intensity of   GDP by 2020 compared to  2005 levels. UNEP Emission Gap Report 2014 recognized India as achiever of voluntary goal. Therefore, commitment through our proposal can guarantee desire results. 

The Government of India is in the process to bring out a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research. Our proposal emphasizes more on quality education and decrease school drop outs due to financial reasons.


  1. Elderly are given an incentive of Rs 500 per month for their work
  2. Youth/Middle aged men/women are given Rs 100 to transport and distribute the fruits grown by elderly to the government market. 
  3. School going children are given an incentive in the form of subsidy in their educational fees.


  1. Existing Finance Commission (FC) Incentive for creation of carbon sink: devolution of funds to states from federal pool (attaches 7.5 % weight to area under forest) can be utilized as an investment
  2. Funds from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA): USD 6 billion has been proposed to be given to States
  3. Global investments by the developed countries for climate protection. Ratio of emission avoided per dollar invested & economic growth attained would be relatively more favourable in case of investments made in India

Zero Hunger in India-UN

A holistic approach to food security requires ensuring available, accessible and nutritious food to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in India. Hence, our proposal directly contribute in reducing hunger as the fruits which are grown by the elderly are locally available, accessible and rich in nutrition (Proteins and Vitamins).