Agencies, New Delhi
Describing the task of providing relief to the elderly in society as a ‘gigantic’ one, President Pranab Mukherjee today said additional resources would be required to protect their rights and to ensure their social inclusion and economic independence.
Speaking at a function to present the ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’ — National Awards for Senior Citizens, to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service towards elderly persons on the International Day for Older Persons, the President said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was doing a good job by providing various reliefs to the elderly in society.
“The efforts of the Ministry are being complemented by other union ministries but the problem is gigantic. Senior citizens in our country – that is, the segment of our population that is aged above 60 years, numbers about ten and half crores. Of these, 5.1 crore are male and 5.3 crores are female. Current projections indicate that by the year 2026, the number of senior citizens, male and female, will be 8.4 and 8.8 crores respectively i.e. a total of 10 per cent of our population.
“In view of this, there will be increased requirement of trained manpower and medical infrastructure for geriatric care. Additional resources will be required to protect their rights and to ensure their social inclusion and economic independence. Social inclusion of the aged population is an indispensible gesture that can only partly repay the gift of life and nurturing received from our elders,” the President said.
Addressing the function, where Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and his deputies Krishan Pal and Vijay Sampla were also present, the President also congratulated the recipients of the national awards in various categories and thanked them for their service to the elderly.
The President said as Indians, paying due attention to the needs of the elderly in society is embedded in their core civilisational values. This has also been recognised in Article 41 of the Indian Constitution.