International Day of Older Persons, 2022 was observed in Manipur on Saturday at Iboyaima Shumang Lila Shanglen, Imphal East with Chief Minister N Biren gracing the function as Chief Guest. CM warned those who keep parents in old age homes to take care of parents and elderly people or face legal actions.
The programme organised by the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Manipur was also attended by Social Welfare Minister Heikham Dingo as President and Health Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan, and Additional Chief Secretary (Social Welfare) P. Vaiphei as Guests of Honour.
Addressing the gathering, Biren stressed the need for a stringent Act suitable in Manipur, to deal with those people who misbehave with their parents at their old age and force them to stay in old aged homes. Continuing that instances of keeping aged parents in old age homes have increased a lot, he cautioned that such a culture will make the State move backward and hinder its development. He also expressed that parents at their old age should be given respect and taken good care of, adding that making them feel insecure at their age can be termed a crime against humanity, he added.
N Biren also tweeted, “Attended the International Day of Older Persons 2022 which is being observed under the theme ‘The resilience and contributions of older women.’ The State Govt has been proactively taking up various initiatives for the welfare of senior citizens.”
The Chief Minister maintained that the Central Government and the State Government had taken up various schemes for the welfare of older persons. He informed that the State Government is in the process to increase the pension amount under Manipur Old Age Pension Scheme (MOAPS) and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAP) from Rs. 200 per month to Rs. 1000 per month for beneficiaries of 80 years of age and above.
Around 25,000 older persons will be benefited from this initiative costing about Rs. 20 crores from the State exchequer, he said. He further informed that 16,000 additional beneficiaries had been provided old age pensions under MOAPS during the current financial year.
Biren continued that the State Government had also introduced the “Chief Minister’s Widow Pension Scheme” and 10,000 widows had been provided widow pensions of Rs. 500 per month. He mentioned that the amount of Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension had also been increased from Rs. 300 to Rs. 500 per month by contributing State Top-Up of Rs. 200 per month.
The Chief Minister appealed to those people who keep their parents at old age homes, to take their parents back home and take good care of them. He assured to give required assistance for their living from the Government side. He then warned of taking legal action against those people who force their parents to stay in old age homes.
Health Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan, while delivering his speech, stated that elder persons are the ones who imbibe the knowledge of our cultures and tradition to the younger generation since time immemorial. This has helped preserve our culture, he added.
He continued that the State Government under the supervision of Chief Minister N Biren had been taking up certain measures to take special care of older persons of the State.
Social Welfare Minister Heikham Dingo, delivering his presidential speech, said that October 1 is observed as International Day of Older Persons every year to give respect to elders, who had done everything for their younger generations and society. Older persons should be given respect and taken good care and the same thing should be made known to young generations, he added.
He informed that the Social Welfare Department is opening a particular cell to look into the matters related to inhuman treatment against older persons. He appealed to the public to raise complaints to the Department if anyone happens to come across any such act of misbehavior or ill-treatment of elder persons.
During the program, CM Biren felicitated well-known singer Konthoujam Bobin for his contribution to Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan campaign. The Chief Minister also felicitated some selected elder persons and took their blessings.
Director, Social Welfare Ngangom Uttam, officials of the Social Welfare Department, and older persons from different places of the State also attended the programme among others.
Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha MP and titular king Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba in the presence of Kakching MLA Mayanglambam Rameshwar, Wabagai MLA Dr. Ushem Deven Singh, and Senior Citizens’ Forum Kakching President and former Minister Nongmaithem Nimai inaugurated a newly constructed Old Age Home, Kakching cum Auditorium on Saturday.
The old age home was constructed with funding of Rs. 20 lakh from the Local Area Development Fund of former Outer MP Dr. Lorho Pfoze and donations from many individuals. The inauguration programme was organised by Senior Citizens’ Forum Kakching (SCFK).
As part of the inaugural event, Senior Citizens’ Day was also observed under the theme “The Resilience and Contribution of Older Women”.
Addressing the gathering, MP Leishemba Sanajaoba expressed unhappiness over aging parents being forced to stay at old age homes due to family betrayal. He said that betraying old parents is not a healthy sign in society.
Leishemba Sanajaoba, however, said that now a number of old age homes have sprung up in different parts of the state and added that the increased number of old age homes is lucky for those old people who have no family members or relatives. He appealed to the people to give maximum support to such individuals.
Leishemba Sanajaoba further said that caring and giving respect to old parents has been an old practice of the Meitei community since time immemorial however it has been learned that some old parents of officers like the director and commissioner have been staying at old age homes, which is very disappointing.
The MP urged the owners or groups who are running old age homes to not admit any old persons who have sons, daughters-in-law, children, and grandchildren. If the home wants to accept an old person then it should be done after a proper investigation to determine whether the person has family members or not.
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