Chennai

Better deal for elders sought

The Supreme Court-appointed National Commissioner on Food Security Harsh Mander (second from right) at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on {lsquo}The elderly poor and Chennai's economy' in Chennai on Thursday.

The Supreme Court-appointed National Commissioner on Food Security Harsh Mander (second from right) at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on {lsquo}The elderly poor and Chennai's economy' in Chennai on Thursday.  

Photo exhibition on poor senior citizens begins

The National Old Age Pension scheme should be universalised with focus on the deeper value of human dignity, the Supreme Court-appointed National Commissioner on Food Security Harsh Mander said.

Inaugurating a photo exhibition at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras on ‘The elderly poor and Chennai's economy,' on Thursday he said “The elders, in policy, are considered to be a burden and not seen as productive members.”

The idea that all aged people are not productive has been empirically proved wrong, he added. Stressing the need for changes in the national policy for older persons, Mr.Mander said “There is a reluctant admission at the policy level on the right to social security of all groups.”

All aged persons must have a recognised right to State support, he added.

Over 30 per cent of the elderly are on paid employment in Chennai, said Penny Vera-Sanso, Director, UK Cross-Council Research Programme on Ageing, Poverty and Neoliberalism in Urban South India. The elders should not be treated as objects of welfare doles but as contributors of national GDP and adding economic value to the society, said V.Suresh of the Centre for Law, Policy and Human Rights Studies, Chennai. “The eligibility criteria for support should be changed to cover all elderly sections. All informal sector workers should be automatically covered for pension support,” he said.

In urban areas, the rights of old people to work as vendors should be recognised as an important part of their livelihood rights, said Dr.Suresh.

A two-day international conference on ‘Mainstreaming Elderly in Policy, Planning and Practice' from March 19 at the IIT-M would critically examine the functioning of social security programmes for the aged in India and propose measures to mainstream elderly in policy and planning.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:25:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Better-deal-for-elders-sought/article16576765.ece

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