Well-being of older persons has been mandated in Constitution: Vice President Ansari

New Delhi, Oct.1 : Asserting that the well-being of older persons has been mandated in the Constitution of India, Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari today said Article 41, a Directive Principle of State Policy, provides that the state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right of public assistance in cases of old age.

Addressing the International Day of Older Persons organised by the Helpage India here, he said social security has been made the concurrent responsibility of the Centre and state governments.

Vice President Ansari said that the census statistics showed India has a youthful population, with over half the Indians being below the age of 35.

“The fact often overlooked is that with increasing life expectancy, India is fast graying and that we have a large number of elderly, a growing and vulnerable segment which the society seems woefully ill-equipped to manage,” he added.

Vice President Ansari said the Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialisation, urbanisation and globalisation. He added that the traditional values and institutions are changing.

“As nuclear families become the norm, the family based social safety nets are no longer adequate and the transition from rural, agrarian set-up to urban, industrial way of life, migration from villages to cities and increasingly, abroad, forces the younger generation to leave their elders alone back home,” Vice President Ansari said.

He said that the finances are stretched as healthcare becomes expensive.

“Efforts should also be made for enhancing the productivity span of the elderly,” he added.

Vice President Ansari said the health care services should be based on the felt needs of the elderly, which would involve a comprehensive baseline morbidity survey and functional assessment in health areas that are perceived to be important to them.

“Education, training and information needs of older persons will also have to be met,” he added.

Vice President Ansari further said that the thrust should be to identify the more vulnerable among the older persons – the poor, the disabled, the infirm, the chronically sick and those without family support, and provide welfare services to them on a priority basis.

He said that the non-governmental agencies need to be encouraged and assisted to organise services such as day care, multi-service citizen’s centres, outreach services, supply of disability related aids and appliances, short term stay services and friendly home visits by social workers. (ANI)