The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (October 1, 2016) presented the ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’ -National Awards for Senior Citizens, to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service towards elderly persons on the occasion of International Day for Older Persons.
Speaking on the occasion, the President extended warm greetings to all senior citizens. He also congratulated the recipients of the National Awards in various categories and thanked them for their service to the elderly.
The President said that as Indians, paying due attention to the needs of the elderly in our society is embedded in our core civilizational values. This has also been recognized in Article 41 of the Indian Constitution.
The President said that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is doing a good job by providing various reliefs to the elderly in society. The efforts of the Ministry are being complemented by other Ministries of the Government of India 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 percent 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.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Krishan Pal and Shri Vijay Sampla, Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.