NEED A ROBUST SYSTEM

Editorial GREATER JAMMU

Although the responsibility of meaningful existence in old age rests primarily with the individuals yet in extreme circumstances of weakness and disability, it is indeed the responsibility of children, society, government and the system as a whole to look after the elders. The youngsters of today keeping this situation in mind need to prepare for their transition into elders’ status right from today that would enable them to develop a mind-set guaranteeing full enjoyment to them in the concluding term of their life in the most dignified and a peaceful manner. For achieving this goal the whole society needs to change in accordance with the changing life patterns in the society. While the nation has been witnessing a number of measures on the social security front initiated by the incumbent government under the leadership of PM Narender Modi and it is hoped that this significant issue of ‘Caring for the Elders’ in old age is accorded top priority not only by the present Govt but by all the successive governments. In this regard the people also need to sincerely put in their contribution at individual level to restore the traditional family care of elders. Since the nation runs on the principle of ‘Welfare State’ therefore it becomes the foremost duty of the State to ensure social security and senior citizens being physically in a disadvantageous position deserve to be accorded the topmost priority by the government. However, one can’t help but lamenting that why the Govt has withdrawn many concessions that were previously available to senior citizens. To be more specific the concession in railway fare was withdrawn during peak Corona crisis and with the situation presently having returned to near normal, the senior citizens continue to be deprived of this significant concession till date. This clearly indicates that despite the duty being there, much less has been done on this front especially by the Govt. While there are countless NGOs today fighting for the facilities to be provided to the senior citizens, the enormity of funds required in some projects necessitates the proactive stance and participation of the government in this regard. Not only this, the lackadaisical attitude of the government in this regard makes the senior citizens to suffer. Is it not an irony that instead of enlarging the scope of concessions to senior citizens the same seems to be curtailed? This is just one instance out of multiple ones whereby the elderly feel that injustice is meted out them due to apathy of the authorities. The worst part of the story of certain senior citizens can be well gauged from the increasing trend of old age homes and other like establishments coming up as permanent shelters after being left to fend for themselves by their own children.
No doubt India is a nation with largest youth population, but that does not mean that senior citizens deserve merely a back seat now. Therefore, today on one hand the nation needs to involve the youth power in aggressive programmes for nation’s prosperity to keep intact India’s growth story and ensure its further nurturing, but at the same time it needs to have a healthy and robust old age care system maintaining the ethos of extraordinary respect and care of the elderly people that is deeply embedded in the rich Indian culture.