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VP asks start-ups to come up with innovative solutions to problems faced by elderly

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday urged the country’s young start-ups to come up with innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to the everyday problems faced by the elderly. Naidu said that taking care of the elderly should not be the responsibility of the government alone and each one of us should come forward and join this noble cause.

Addressing the gathering after presenting the National Award -Vayoshreshtha Samman-2021 here, the Vice President said that he would prefer to call the senior citizens ‘elders’ rather than ‘older persons’. He also launched the SACRED (Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity) portal to connect the senior citizens with job providers in the private sector.

Referring to the LASI report-2020, he said that more than 50 per cent of senior citizens are active and therefore, it is very important to provide gainful employment opportunities to them for a happy, healthy, empowered and self-reliant life. He urged the private sector to join the new portal and benefit from the skills and experience of the elders.

Naidu launched a National Helpline (Elder Line) during the award function. Noting that senior citizens are a highly vulnerable group, the Vice President lauded the helpline in bringing in an easy and efficient grievance redressal mechanism to protect them. He also appreciated SAGE (Seniorcare Aging Growth Engine) portal designed by the Ministry to encourage entrepreneurs in the area of elderly care.

The United Nations General Assembly had adopted a resolution to observe October 1, 1999 as the ‘International Day of Older Persons’ and since then, the first day of October every year is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons, worldwide. On this occasion, the Government of India confers ‘National Award-Vayoshreshtha Samman’ on eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service to elderly persons.

Noting that the Covid pandemic has severely affected everyone including the senior citizens, Naidu called upon the civil society and voluntary organisations to act as a support system to the elderly and supplement the efforts of the Government and its agencies.

Observing that the elderly population in India is projected to reach about 14.9 per cent by 2036, Naidu recalled India’s rich tradition of respecting and caring for the elderly. “Under the joint family system, they enjoyed a place of reverence and influence, guiding and advising the younger generation on the strength of their knowledge, wisdom and long years of experience,” he said.

He added that with changing times and erosion of the traditional values, these days many young children do not have the privilege of enjoying the tender care, love, affection and guidance of the older generation as was available in joint families.

Referring to the various challenges to the well being of the elderly, Naidu said that the Government and Parliament are taking necessary initiatives to create the right policy framework for the care of the elderly.

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