24 November 2010
The aging population’s issues and concerns are an emerging world–wide challenge in the 21st century and need to be addressed on a priority basis said former director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Gururaj Mutalik here on Tuesday.
The challenge is especially daunting, in terms of the socio–economic and health conditions, he said, while speaking about the national consultation on ‘Active and Healthy Aging’ to be held at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration from Wednesday to Friday. "The national consultation seeks to bring to fore issues being faced by the elderly at the policy–, legislationand programme–levels and discuss realistic ways of improving them," he added.
The national consultation has been organised by the Janaseva Foundation, in collaboration with the International Longevity Centre, India, and the International Federation on Aging, with support from the WHO.
Sharadchandra Gokhale, president of the International Longevity Centre, said, "The ultimate objective of the consultation is to find ways and means to empower the elderly to lead a participatory life of good health, dignity and quality under partnership between the government, non–governmental organisations (NGOs) and the community."
"Representatives of the state ministries of social justice and empowerment and other ministries, like women and child development, which look after the welfare of senior citizens, have been invited to attend and requested to make presentations," said Vinod Shah, president of the Janaseva Foundation The WHO considers this consultation as a major step to facilitate the policies and programmes for the elderly so as to give them healthy and qualitative aging, said Mutalik.
Objectives of the consultation
- To get an overview of the situation in India, with regard to the status of senior citizens and the formulation of state policies, programmes and their implementation
- To work towards reviewing the work done in the field of the aging population by important stakeholders, like government representatives from the concerned ministries of social justice and empowerment, the NGOs working for senior citizens and the representatives of senior citizens themselves, the Senior Citizens Organisations.
- The information given by ministry representatives will be vital to help the consultation chart a plan of action to improve upon the drawbacks of the present.
- To develop strategies for addressing the lacunae in the policies and to work on methodologies to help meet the unaddressed needs of the elderly with special reference to policies and programmes for them.
- To form a special task force or an action committee to take up the recommendations which emerge from the consultation to the next level for positive action and implementation.
- Identifying steps needed to formulate policies on older persons in states where they are not in place
- Identifying strategies and structures for implementation of programmes derived from the policies
- Identifying specific issues like health, rural population, gender problems, social security and economic security.
- Identifying the special needs of the 80+ population.