The union minister's statement has already triggered debates within and outside his party.
The minister for rural development said that when Rahul Gandhi becomes prime minister, the cabinet will have youngsters.
We are a nation of youngsters: Jairam Ramesh
Congress' rival party BJP is troubled by the'change of guard' debates going on inside the party. Many party veterans like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh expressed their displeasure for being sidelined. Jaswant Singh was denied a ticket to contest from the constituency of his choice while Advani had to yield to the party pressure to contest from Gandhinagar.
Jairam Ramesh explained that Congress leaders, unlike BJP veterans, would retire at 70.
"A generational change is absolutely essential to renew any organisation. Otherwise, an organisation will ossify. There is no doubt that in Congress there is a generational shift taking place. This is to be welcomed. This is to be encouraged," said Ramesh, who will turn 60 next month, in an interview.
Jairam Ramesh's words indicate that many senior Congress leaders, including prime minister Manmohan Singh may not contest in elections or assume cabinet positions again.
The prime minister at 81 years, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at 72 and Defence Minister AK Antony at 73 years.
Other union ministers above 70 years include Railway Minister Malikarjun Kharge, 71, Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy, 71, and 72-year-old Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma. Finance minister P Chidambaram is 68.
The older generation is not sulking over the change of guard inside the party, reiterated Ramesh. "No, I don't think that they are sulking. People unfortunately in India don't know when to exit... They hang on and on. That is why most mentors in India become tormentors. There are 80-year-olds who want to contest," Ramesh said.
"Yes. I am very clear in my mind. People over the age of 70 should be accommodated in advisory positions. We are a nation of youngsters", he added.