Senior citizens hold rally over pension demand

Neha Basudkar
Monday, 1 October 2018

The rally was organised under the banner of NGO HelpAge India and Pension Parishad, a network of 200 civil society organisations.

PUNE: To recognise the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives, on October 1, International Day of Older Persons is observed. The theme for this year is  ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’. 

On the eve of this day, senior citizens from across the country staged a protest in New Delhi on Sunday to draw the government’s attention towards their measly pension of Rs 200 per month and to demand a universal social security scheme to cover all those aged 65 and above.

The rally was organised under the banner of NGO HelpAge India and Pension Parishad, a network of 200 civil society organisations. Along with it, Baba Adhav, veteran labour leader and co-convener of Pension Parishad will be felicitated by Mathew Cherian of NGO HelpAge India.

Poornima Chikarmane, member of Pension Parishad, said, “More than 12,000 senior citizens from over 16 states marched to Parliament on Sunday, demanding a universal social security scheme. We demanded that 50 per cent of the minimum wage should be given as pension amount, which is nearly Rs 2,500 per person per month, and it is linked to the inflation rate.”

“Every marginalised senior citizen should get social security pension. The Central government’s contribution of Rs 200 per person every month has remained static for the last 10 years. Adding to it, the State government contributes Rs 400 per person, which in total is Rs 600 receiving by every senior citizen in Maharashtra which is not enough for them. It should be increased so that senior citizens who are from marginalised background can survive,” Chikarmane added.

Baba Adhav said, “Ab ki Baar Pension ka Adhikar.  We will take this demand to every MP and MLA from Maharashtra. How about a Ghantanad for this? A minister asked me, why should the government be responsible for pensions for people who have children? The government treasury can cover those who have no other support but should not the children take care of their parents in old age? I would like to ask him: you believe that the government should not be burdened with the responsibility of those who have children to take care of them, right? Then why do not you apply this rule to yourselves and government servants? 

BACKGROUND
On December 14, 1990, the UN General Assembly made October 1 the International Day of Older Persons, following up on initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing and endorsed later that year by the assembly. The International Day of Older Persons was observed for the first time on October 1, 1991.

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