Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam and others at International Day of Older Persons in Kohima on October 1. (Morung Photo)
Senior citizens honoured on International Day of Older Persons
Kohima | October 1
Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam today assured that the government is committed to look after the well-being and dignity of the senior citizens in the State.
"They are the guardians of our past, the pillars of our present, and the guiding lights for our future," he said while speaking at the observance of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), organised by the department of social welfare (DST) at Hotel Japfü Kohima on October 1.
The day was marked by honouring the contributions of the elderly and conferring awards and gifts on distinguished senior citizens.
Meanwhile, Alam noted that the IDOP serves as a reminder of the significant contributions made by older persons in the past towards development of the world and to also recognise their place in current world as they navigate challenges that comes with time.
The Naga society is deeply engrained in the ethos of the family and the enduring value of human connection has contributed in building a healthy community where older persons are always respected and valued, he said.
The Chief Secretary added that older persons' participation in society and development is essential, as they can continue to contribute to the community in many ways, both economically and socially.
He also lauded the DST for extending different welfare schemes and programmes to the senior citizens.
Proportion of elderly persons increasing
Meanwhile, Alam informed that out of 1.3 billion people in India, there are 1.49 million in the 60 years and above category, representing 10.5% of the total, according to the United Nations Population Fund (India Ageing Report).
In recent years, the proportion has been steadily increasing, and the percentage of people aged 60 and above in India is projected to rise from 10.5% to 20.8% of the total population in 2050, he said.
'It is anticipated that the elderly will constitute over 36% of the total population of the country by the end of the century,' Alam added.
According to the Census of India 2011, in Nagaland, out of a total population of 19,78,502, there were 1,02,726 people in the 60 years and above cohorts age group, representing 5.19% of the total."
Efforts on for senior citizens' homes in every district
Also speaking on the occasion, DST Secretary Martha R Ritse said that the IDOP is the day to recognise and acknowledge the contributions of older persons and rededicate efforts to ensure their well-being.
The State Government has also notified the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, which, among others, empowers senior citizens, including parents, to file for maintenance against children or any or all relatives and also gives them protection in any place if they are abandoned, she said.
In order to attend to grievances of senior citizens, the Government of India has also launched the National Helpline for Senior Citizens, or Elderline-14567, across the country, Ritse added.
In Nagaland, it was launched on September 28, 2021, by the Chief Minister and is fully operational.
“It is being implemented by Good Samaritan Women Society, and they have done exceptionally well,” the Secretary maintained.
She further informed that there are 51,750 beneficiaries of the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme under NSAP who are paid Rs 200 per month. Another 5,650 beneficiaries are paid Rs 500 per month.
There are five senior citizens' homes run by various implementing agencies, where the elderly are given shelter, she said, adding that efforts are on by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to ensure that every district has one such home. There are also a few daycare centers managed by private agencies.
Dr R Rose, General Secretary, Senior Citizens' Association Nagaland, also spoke on the occasion and encouraged senior citizens to go for frequent medical checkups and get early diagnosis and prompt treatment. He also called upon them to stay healthy and continue to contribute to society.
The programme was chaired by DST Director Tosheli Zhimomi, while the vote of thanks was proposed by Assistant Director K Wango Langsym.