Call to respect senior citizens and use their experience for better change
Kohima, October 1: Nagaland today observed World International Day of Older Persons with a call to respect and treat the senior citizens with dignity and also utilize their experiences for bringing about better change in the society.
The observance was organized by Department of Social Welfare on the theme “Celebrating Old Human Rights Champions”.
“Unlike other parts of the country, the Naga society does not disrespect the older persons in the family or mistreat them by keeping them in old age homes, but there is a need to introspect and see how much more can be done to make their lives better,” said Advisor for Rural Development, MLA Dr Neikiesalie Nicky Kire while addressing a mixed section of people gathered to celebrate the day here on Monday.
Assuring to pursue with the government for enhancement of state’s share of old age pension, Dr Kire called upon all stakeholders to join hands with social welfare department in order to provide a better ambience for the older persons and utilize their experience in different fields.
In her keynote address, Secretary to the Government of Nagaland (Social Welfare), Sarah R. Ritse said “the day is celebrated worldwide to bring to the attention of the society to the problems affecting the life of older people, promote public awareness and focus n behavioral changes and responsibilities of people towards senior citizens which can help them to have a better and happy life”.
“This is the day to honour and acknowledge the work of our elders and the contributions they have made for our society to progress,” she said.
Stating that the Department of Social Welfare is contributing for the welfare of senior citizens through National Social Assistance Programme funded by the Ministry of Rural Development, she said that financial assistance is provided to senior citizens where monthly pensions of Rs 200 is given to senior citizens whose age is 60-70 years and a monthly pension of Rs 500 is given to those whose are is 80 years and above.
In Nagaland, she said, there are 51750 beneficiaries who are in 60-70 years and 5,650 beneficiaries are 80 and above Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.
Nagaland Senior Citizens Association, president Dr S Imkong Toshi Ao said Nagaland has about 1,03,000 older population. He said that the old aged people are a source of knowledge, experience, wisdom, vision, guide etc., however as they age, their old age problems of locomotion, balance, reflexes, sight, hearing, memory, cognition etc becomes pronounced and therefore there is a need to take care of them.
“While celebrating the Older Persons Human Rights Champions, we in Nagaland need not seek elsewhere nationally or internationally but focus locally, and not only at the present but so in the party,” he said, adding “who else would be the greater older persons human rights champions for us than the signatories of the then Naga Hills individuals to the Memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission on January 19, 1929 and Plebiscite following in 1951, which is our Magna Charta, not only for Nagaland but for the whole Nagas and the signatories to the Memorandum and Brain behind the Plebiscite should be considered as our (Nagas) Older Persons Human Rights Champions”.
“Remember and honour them for their wisdom, farsightedness and vision whose fruits we are enjoying today and hope for the future with the legacy they left behind,” Dr Ao stated.
Dwelling on the theme of the celebration, Member Secretary of Nagaland State Legal Servcies Authority, Mezivolu T Therieh highlighted on the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007.
There are several schemes designed by the government for senior citizens, she said adding that the National Policy on Senior Citizens also focuses on mainstreaming senior citizens, especially women, promoting the concept of ageing in place, income security, homecare services, old age pension, and access to healthcare insurance schemes and other programmes and services to facilitate and sustain the dignity in old age.
She went to state that if Social Welfare Department or some NGOs could initiate to establish a kind of club/recreational centre for the senior citizens, “we can encourage them to come together”. This may be of great impact as they can have a place to look forward, she said while assure that NSLSA has the man power to help and assist periodically or as and when their services are required.
Marking the occasion, State Level award to Older Persons for distinguished services in various fields was awarded to Khyomo Lotha, two time former member of Rajya Sabha and Margaret Annie Shishak.
Kohima district award for Older Persons went to retired Chief Convertor of Forest, Thepfulhoiuvi Solo and retired government teacher and social activist Neisevoü Kirha.
Director of Social Welfare Department, T Merangtsungba Aier stated that the day is observed throughout the state by the department in collaboration with the respective district administration. (Page News Service)