Imphal: In a bid to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly, the International Day of Older Persons, 2022 was observed on Saturday at Iboyaima Shumang Lila Shanglen in Imphal East.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh graced the occasion as chief guest.
The programme was organised by the Department of Social Welfare, Manipur. It was attended by social welfare minister Heikham Dingo, health minister Sapam Ranjan, and additional chief secretary (Social Welfare) P Vaiphei.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister N Biren Singh stressed the need for a stringent Act to deal with those who ill-treat their parents in their old age and force them to stay in old age homes.
Stating that instances of sending aged parents to old age homes have increased, Singh cautioned that such a culture would take the state backward and hinder its development.
“Parents in their old age should be given respect and taken good care of. Making them feel insecure at their age should be termed as a crime against humanity,” he added.
The chief minister said the central and state governments have taken several schemes for the welfare of older persons.
Singh informed that the state government is in the process of increasing the pension amount under the Manipur Old Age Pension Scheme (MOAPS) and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAP) from Rs 200 to Rs 1000 per month for beneficiaries aged 80 years and above.
“Around 25,000 older persons will benefit from this initiative that cost around Rs 20 crore from the state exchequer,” he said.
16,000 additional beneficiaries have been provided old-age pensions under MOAPS during the current financial year, he informed.
Singh said that under the Chief Minister’s Widow Pension Scheme, 10,000 widows had been provided widow pensions of Rs 500 per month. The amount under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension and the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension has 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 who admit their parents to old-age homes to take their parents back and take good care of them assuring them that the government would give the required assistance for their living. Legal action will be taken against those who force their parents to stay in old age homes, he warned.
Health minister Ranjan, while delivering his speech, said knowledge of culture and traditions are imparted to the younger generation by elder members of society. This, he said, has helped preserve our culture.
Social welfare minister Heikham Dingo said the social welfare department is opening a dedicated cell to look into matters related to the inhuman treatment towards older persons. He appealed to the public to raise complaints to the department if they come across any misbehavior or ill-treatment towards elder persons.
During the programme, the chief minister felicitated well-known singer Konthoujam Bobin for his contribution to the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan campaign.
Social Welfare Director Ngangom Uttam and other dignitaries attended the programme.
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