HelpAge India, an NGO that works for the care of elderly disadvantaged persons and senior citizens, recently received the UN Population Award, a first for an institution in India. The award was last conferred on an Indian 28 years ago, when it was awarded to JRD Tata as an individual laureate in 1992.
HelpAge India has received the award for its efforts for the elderly over the past four decades. Its platform is advocating for senior citizens’ right to universal pension, quality healthcare and action against abuse, among others, at the national and state level.
In a ceremony to felicitate HelpAge India on Thursday, Argentina Matavel Piccin, representative of UNFPA India, said that to place the elderly and their needs squarely on the policy and budget allocations agenda of the country is a major priority. The narrative must be changed and the elderly must be seen as a resource, a repository of vast knowledge, she said.
Kiran Karnik, chairperson, HelpAge India, said the many issues being faced by elderly people have been amplified over the past one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
K S James, director and senior professor, International Institute for Population Sciences, said the number of elderly people is going to double in 15 years. Women are more vulnerable compared to men since they have fewer savings and assets, burden of family care responsibilities and age-associated morbidities, he said. This feminisation of the ageing population in the country would require focus on the needs of widows and elderly women for economic, social and legal security, he added.