April 23, 2009

SYMPOSIUM ON ROLE OF OLDER PERSONS IN DEMOCRACY-II

WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON ONE-RANK-ONE-PENSION FOR RETIRED SERVICES PERSONNEL

23rd April 2009

GULMOHAR HALL, INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, LODI ROAD

Key Speakers:
  • Lt. Gen. (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Chairman, IESM,
  • Vice Admiral Subhash Chopra (Retd.)
  • Wg. Cdr Praful Bakshi (Retd.)

Agewell Foundation is about understanding needs of older persons, advocacy for their rights and sensitizing every one about Old Age.
A survey conducted by Agewell Foundation in recent past suggests that older persons have an important role in democratic process as they not only constitute largest number of actual voters but also form largest number of elected leadership of the democracy.

However, in spite of all this there are hardly any Pro-Old People policies. One example of insensitiveness towards the older people is the struggle for One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) for retired services personnel. Therefore to illustrate our survey findings we have invited views of ex-servicemen about the need for One-Rank-One-Pension through this symposium. Agewell Foundation has also recommended following suggestions to the policy makers, which are essential for the welfare of the Older Persons;


Ø Establishment of a National Institute for Aged on the lines of AIIMS for treatment and research in age related ailments.
Ø
Setting up of separate department of geriatrics on similar lines in each of the existing/proposed AIIMS.
Ø
Setting up of National Fund for the Aged (on the lines of National Fund for Rural Development).
Ø
Issue of special identity cum credit cards for the Older Persons (credit could be linked to the amount deposited or pension dues.)
Ø
Setting up of National Commission for the Aged. (on the lines of NHRC to advice various ministries/departments on Older Persons friendly programmes and policies and protect the interest of the aged)
Ø
Prime Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme for the aged
Ø
Setting up of a National Institute for Promotion of Entrepreneurship amongst the Aged.
Ø
Setting up of Foundation for revitalization of traditions and oral knowledge.
Ø
Enactment of Older Persons’ Justice Act.
Ø
A scheme for establishing Aged women’s Hostel on the lines of working women Hostels in each district.
Ø
Arrangement for Temporary shelters for the aged in each district.


Come, let’s join hands to empower older persons!












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April 8, 2009

Don’t alien older persons in democracy


Democracy is not only about periodic process in democratic elections and political rights but also to empower the underpowered older persons to participate in nations affairs, express their opinion and thus be counted in political process.


On the eve of 15th parliamentary elections in democratic India advertisements are appearing with titles like “Why is the youngest parliament?” and “the great Indian Neta. Allowed to tire best but not retire.”


The advertisers of such advertisements with disproportionate bias in favour of young voters particularly 4.3 crore first time voters are perhaps trying the easiest way to become somebody by saying something very provocative, very loudly and very often. Such advertisements dampen democracy.


These advertisements are glaring examples of age-discrimination and the practical manifestation of ageism creating a tendency in modern society to see people above 60 as “old” with little or no contribution to society ignoring the fact that older people are just as diverse in character, skills and talent as the rest of the population. In addition they can bring the undoubted benefits of their years of experience to the needs of society.


The level of interest of youth in politics does not differ from the rest of population. When it comes to polling the percentage of youth, that vote is less than the average turnout. Age makes much-less difference to voting choice than class, caste, locality or gender. They support democracy, have a moderate interest in politics and hold opinions on issues of current times that are no different from the older generation. This makes India very different from Europe, where age divisions have been the driver of many new political trends like Green Parties, says Yogendra Yadav in The Hindu, April 6, 2009.


The idea of India with its old traditional values and young energy is never a dull thought.





April 7, 2009

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH

• We aim to improve human development by life expectancy so that people live much longer beyond 60. In 1900 people used to live barely one year after retirement, by 2012 a person is likely to live 25 years after retirement. That’s good news – right?

• But this prolonged life by postponing death can be a mixed blessing given the creaking machinery of our ageing bodies and the crumbling social edifice that surrounds elderly. In a world of competing priorities, we must ask as to what kind of life extension should we focus on living. It might make sense to focus on living rather than be obsessed with not dying!

• Longer old age will in particular be marked by substantial increase in population of older persons with needs for assistance and care whose number expected to reach 110 million by year 2020 from 90 million at present.

• Whether or not this increase in population of older persons will be a cause of celebration or a primary factor leading to a care-giving crisis will in fact depend on the measures and policies which are being developed at present by civil society and government.

• Trying to generalize and bracket the differing needs of older persons and helping them through blanket welfare programmes like cataract operations, day care centres, old age homes, etc. is like trying to solve “Rubiks Cube” blind folded.

• Unless the resources base of older persons marginalized by family/ society can be made more resilient coping with social welfare of this most vulnerable section of society may be next to impossible. Get ready to face the emerging realities!