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India


NGO appeals for national fund and commission for aged persons

By Suresh Nautiyal
New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) The Agewell Foundation, a not-for-profit NGO working for the welfare and empowerment of older persons since 1999, has requested the central government to set up a national fund for the aged -- on the lines of National Fund for Rural Development -- and a national commission for the aged on the lines of National Commission for Women.
The organisation, which has a special consultative status with the ECOSOC at United Nations since 2011, has appealed, in this regard, to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "on behalf of 130 million older persons of the country."
In their appeal, the NGO asked the government to set up of a national fund for the aged on the lines of the National Fund for Rural Development. "Similarly, the government should set up a national commission for the aged on the lines of National Commission for Women," said Himanshu Rath, Founder Chairman of Agewell Foundation.
It said the government needs to pay attentions towards the older persons and it should come up with the projects that support them like housing, trauma centres, mobile medicare services, recreation clubs, pilgrimage, etc.
It said various ministries/departments need to rework on the policies related to the older persons and protect their interests.
The organisation has also demanded establishment of a national institute for aged on the lines of AIIMS for treatment and research in age related ailments. "Such an institute can act as a nodal agency to look after all research and development works in the field of gerontology for the fastest growing ageing population across the country," he said.
Under an appropriate skill development scheme, re-tooling, post-retirement training and other new age vocational training could be provided to older persons.
"This is important as living for longer years has redefined lives of people. With ever increasing life span, old age related needs and requirements are now emerging as new challenges before older persons, their family members and caregivers. For most elderly taking care of their needs is becoming increasingly difficult," he said, adding that in view of demanding lifestyle in old age, large number of old people seek post-retirement jobs so that they can meet their growing needs as most people find their pension amount insufficient.

"While interacting with older persons across the country through its nationwide network of volunteers, Agewell Foundation understands the budgetary provisions can improve the situation of older persons to a larger extent," he said.
The NGO has requested the Finance Minister to consider inclusion of the above-mentioned points concerning needs and rights of older persons in the budget to be placed in Parliament soon.
UNi SNU 1406
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