General Assembly General Assembly

11th session of the Open-ended Working Group for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons

General Discussion

Item 5. Measures to enhance the promotion and protection of

the human rights of older persons

 

Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

 

29 March 2021

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Madam Chair,

 

Let me begin by congratulating you for your election as the Chair of the 11th session of the Open-ended Working Group.

 

The ageing of world population is one of the most challenging phenomenon of demographic transition in the 21st century.

 

India is home to over 135 million old persons and this population segment is expected to reach nearly 20 percent of our population in 2050.

 

The adoption of 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing provides a roadmap for addressing challenges of an ageing society and realization of human rights of older persons. In line with our commitments, we have undertaken a number of legislative and policy measures to promote social, economic and emotional security for the elderly.

 

Madam Chair,

 

The well-being of senior citizens is mandated in the Constitution of India which enjoins the State to make effective provision for securing the right to work and to public assistance in cases of old age.

 

India has adopted a multi-stakeholder approach, to enable elderly to lead a secure, dignified and productive life.

 

In 2020, the National Action Plan for the Welfare of Senior Citizens was launched that addresses the needs of older persons holistically with special emphasis on four basic needs viz. financial security, food, health care and a life of dignity.

 

The National Policy on Older Persons provides state support for financial and food security, health care, shelter and protection against exploitation.

 

The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly provides for improved health services.

 

The Integrated Program for Senior Citizens and Senior Citizen Welfare Fund facilitate inter-sectoral coordination between Central Government and State Governments. There are also provisions for institutional support to widows and older women in vulnerable situations.

 

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007 has made care, maintenance and well-being of parents by their children obligatory and justiciable. In cases of abuse, the Act provides the older adults the right to approach a dedicated tribunal.

 

Non-Governmental Organisations and Informal Groups have been playing an increasingly important role in India in providing a security net for senior citizens supplementing what the family provides in keeping with our longstanding traditions. These NGOs are particularly relevant in urban areas where chances of abuse are much more. We appreciate the role of these NGOs in protection and promoting the rights of older persons.

 

We have accorded priority to lifelong learning and formulated guidelines to facilitate participation of adult learners in the university system.

 

Madam Chair, India is firmly committed to protecting, caring and providing for the welfare and wellbeing of its elderly.

 

I thank you