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Caretakers of traditional grassroots
President Nath Kovind conferred the Vayoshreshtha Samman to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of elderly persons at a function organised by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that there is a healthy tradition of respecting and taking care of elders in our country. “According to the last census, the population of senior citizens in our country was approximately Rs 10.5 crore, which was about 8.5 per cent of our total population. The average life expectancy has increased in recent decades due to improvement in health services and other reasons. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the number of senior citizens will be approximately 19 per cent of our total population,” he added.
The President also said that he was happy to note that the government has taken several steps for the welfare of elderly persons. These include the National Programme for Healthcare of the Elderly, wherein specialised services will be provided for their treatment. Under the National Health Insurance Scheme implemented with the help of state governments, additional health insurance is being provided.
Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment presided over the function. In his address, Gehlot said that the National Award Vayoshreshtha Samman will help to motivate younger generations to understand the contribution of the elderly persons in building of the society and the nation. He called upon people to give due respect and regard to elderly persons in their families as it is the Indian tradition. He opined that the old Indian tradition of joint family should continue for the betterment of our society. He invited suggestions from the people for the welfare of senior citizens. He called upon more and more eligible senior citizens to apply for these awards against the advertisements issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the nodal ministry for the cause of senior citizens, has been celebrating the international day of older persons since 2005 by conferring Vayoshreshtha Sammans to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of elderly persons, especially indigent senior citizens. In 2013, the Vayoshreshtha Sammans have been upgraded as a National Award.
The National Award Vayoshreshtha Samman is given in thirteen categories. The applications had been invited from NGOs, institutions, individuals to apply for the awards in different categories. This year Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment honoured 22 awardees under 11 categories.
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