New Delhi: The President of India Shri Ram 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 organized by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment here today. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot presided over the function.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that there is a healthy tradition of respecting and taking care of elders in our country. He added according to the last census, the population of senior citizens in our country was approximately 10.5 crore, which was about 8.5% 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% of our total population.
The President said that he was happy to note that the Government of India 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.
In his address, Shri Thaawarchand 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.