29 Sep :October 1st is celebrated as International Day of Older Persons the world over. It is a day to reiterate the commitment to create a ‘society for all ages’ where elders get their due in terms of leading a healthy, active and dignified ageing.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the nodal Ministry of the Government of India has been taking a number of pro-active steps in this regard. On the occasion of International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), the Ministry has planned a series of events to reaffirm its commitment for the welfare of the older persons and highlight its efforts.
The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt. Meira Kumar will address a Meeting of National Council of Older Persons (NCOP) on 30th September in Delhi. NCOP oversees the operationalisation of provisions under the National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP). It may be recalled that NPOP was adopted in the year 1999 which recognizes the need for financial security, health, nutrition, education, right to life and property and need-based care of older persons as paramount concerns. The agenda for the NCOP Meeting on 30th September includes discussion on the progress on the implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and the revised grant-in aid scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons.
On 1st October, 2008, to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons, the Ministry is organizing a Walkathon at India Gate in the morning. Like in the past, this event will see participation of thousands of elderly from different parts of the city. This year the Ministry has added another feature to the event by inviting participants from different States to give it an all India character. This event is being coordinated by Helpage India.
On 13th October, there is yet another event being organized called “Celebrating Graceful Ageing – life begins at 60” organized by the Ministry with the help of Anugraha, an NGO dedicated to the cause of elderly. The Minister, Smt Meira Kumar and the State Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt. Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan are likely to participate in this variety cultural evening featuring some celebrated artistes of the country including Sri Debu Chaudhary (Sitar), Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar (Dhrupad) and Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan (Bharatnatyam). While people are going to savour the great performance by these celebrated senior performing artistes, the Ministry is going to felicitate them for their invaluable contribution to the society.
The series of celebration will come to an end with a grand finale in the form of “Vayo Shreshtha Samman” on 17th October, 2008. The “Vayo Shreshtha Samman” initiated by the Ministry is a recognition to some exemplary older persons for their profoundly compassionate disposition, creativity and unpretentious devotion to the service to humanity. The “Vayo Shreshtha Samman” is an opportunity to respect elderly people and recognize the fact that they still have lots to contribute. This year also some of the elderly drawn from different parts of India will be conferred the award by the Ministers of the Social Justice and Empowerment. This event will also feature a Play ‘Wapsi Ke baad” directed by Dr Devendra Raj Ankur from National School of Drama and presented by Sambhav Arts Group. The play based on the stories of celebrated writers, highlights the inter-generational gap and underlines the need for a compassionate understanding of the old age.