Vayoshrestha Samman 2012 – National Awards for Senior Citizens..
On 14th December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1st October as International Day of Older Persons. This day is a very special day for our Ministry as Senior citizens are one of the most important part of our community. We take great pleasure in organizing this function, to honour eminent senior citizens and institutions working for the cause of the elderly. This year, keeping in view the increasing safety and security problems that are being faced by our senior citizens, our ministry identified “Security for Senior Citizens” as the theme for International Day of Older Persons, 2012, which include physical, financial ,emotional and other securities.
Vayoshreshtha Samman is a humble recognition of the relentless strivings and inspiring achievements of our eminent senior citizens and Institutions who are working for the cause of elderly. It is indeed a moment of great pride for me as we have assembled here today to honour some of the exemplary senior citizens and institutions of our country who have re-defined the meaning of self-realization.
As you may be knowing, a demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. Today, world-wide, there are around 600 million persons aged 60 years and over; this total will double by 2025. In our fast ageing world, older people will increasingly play a critical role – through transmitting experience and knowledge, volunteer work, helping their families with caring responsibilities and increasing their participation in the work force. Such contributions to development can only be ensured if senior citizens enjoy security and adequate levels of health and we all need to equip ourselves to meet these demanding situations.
Our Ministry has put in place the National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) with a view to address the various issues relating to ageing in a comprehensive manner. I would like to share with you that keeping in view of the changing demographic pattern and socio-economic changes, our Ministry is in advance stage of formulating a new National Policy, which is expected to address the concerns of the elderly, with a view to helping them live a productive and dignified life.
Our Ministry is implementing a grant-in-aid Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP). Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to voluntary organizations for running and maintenance of various projects such as old age homes, day care centres, physiotherapy clinics, regional resource and training centres, etc. Keeping in view the rising cost of living, our Ministry is considering the revision of cost norms of these various projects.
To develop a frontline cadre of caregivers to ensure quality care at home for the elderly, National Institute of Social Defence, an autonomous body under our Ministry has been conducting a number of training courses on Geriatric Care. To address the healthcare problems of the senior citizens, the Government has introduced the National Programme for Health Care for Elderly (NPHCE) starting from the year 2010-11 with a basic aim to provide separate and specialized comprehensive health care to the senior citizens. Besides, the Government has introduced various facilities and concessions for the senior citizens such as old age pension, income tax rebate, concession in rail and air fare, higher interest rates in deposits, etc.
On legislation front, enactment of The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a major milestone in this direction. However, it is very unfortunate that the implementation of the Act across the country has been unsatisfactory. We therefore, need to join hands together to ensure that this important piece of legislation is implemented in the right spirit.
But much more than this, what our senior citizens require is a sense of belongingness, sense of being part of the family and a little warmth. We must remember the wrinkles on their faces are because of the hard work they have done so that we, the next generation is able to live a better life. It is now our responsibility to help them lead a meaningful and healthy life. These inter-generational bondings are the need of the hour.
On this day, on behalf of the Government, we reaffirm our commitment to make India safe for senior citizens. I would also request you all to help those elderly who are less fortunate and do not have family or adequate resources by extending the support of caring communities.
I once again congratulate all the Vayoshreshtha Samman 2012 awardees and I wish you would keep inspiring us for many more years to come. I also take this opportunity to congratulate NISD, officers of the Ministry, NGOs and all of you who have come together to make this programme a memorable one.
The Vayosreshtha Samman is given by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment each year to recognize the exemplary contribution of senior citizens in various fields and outstanding institutions working for the welfare of the elderly. Vayosreshtha Samman 2012 Awards :
Institution Award for Knowledge: All India Senior Citizens Confederation, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Institution Award for Services: Yanam old Age Home, Pudducherry; All Manipur Senior Citizens Welfare Association Imphal (Manipur)
Best Panchayat Award: Pulamanthol Gram Panchayat, Mallapuram, Kerala
Centenarian Award: Dr. Shanti Giridhar Lal, Mumbai
Best Mother Award: Smt. Shefali Chaudhary, Kolkata (Posthumously)
Life Time Achievement Award: Shri M. M. Sabharwal, New Delhi
Creative Art Award: Shri Agni Kumar Acharjee, Agartala, Tripura
Sportsman Award: Smt. Prakash Tomar, Bagpat, U.P.; Smt. Chandro Tomar, Bagpat, U.P.