Int'l Day of Older Persons Sunday: President, PM issue messages
The International Day of Older Persons will be observed in the country tomorrow like elsewhere across the globe with the theme 'Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations'.
On the eve of the day, President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages greeting the country's all senior citizens and wishing them sound health and peaceful life.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin, in his message, said, "I welcome the initiative of observing the International Day of Older Persons in the country like elsewhere in the world. I think this year's theme for the day 'Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations' is appropriate".
The development of the country is accelerated through the combination of the enthusiasm of the youth and the experience of the senior citizens, he said, adding that the contribution of elders in the progress of civilization is undeniable.
Due to the excellence of medical science and the improvement of socio-economic conditions, the number of elderly people in Bangladesh is increasing day by day, the President said, adding, "Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inserted Article 15 (Gha) related to social security in the principles of state management of the constitution for ensuring social security of the elderly".
To ensure a dignified, poverty-free, functional, healthy and secure family and social life for the elderly persons, the government has enacted the National Policy on Older Persons-2013 and the Parent's Care Act, 2013, he said.
Besides, old-age allowance was introduced in the fiscal year 1997-98, Shahabuddin said, adding that in the financial year 2023-24, a total of 58 lakh 1 thousand senior citizens are receiving old-age allowance under the programme.
Along with the increase the number of old-age allowance beneficiaries, the amount of allowance is also being increased, he said, adding, in the era of immense possibilities of information technology, Bangladesh has progressed a lot in the path of digitalization.
Appropriate use of advanced and modern information technology should be ensured for the welfare of the elderly people, the head of the state said and urged the authorities concerned to take appropriate steps so that "our senior citizens can enjoy all the facilities of digital technology and technological equality".
Growing older is associated with many physical and psychological problems, including loneliness and isolation, he said, adding it is very important for the government as well as various private philanthropic organizations and effluent section of the society to come forward so that this respected people of the society can live a beautiful life in their old age.
Besides, effective initiatives must be taken to prevent the degradation of family and social values in creating a senior citizen-friendly society, Shahabuddin said, adding, "I wish the elderly people across the world good health, peaceful and dignified lives".
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, the Awami League (AL) government is very sensitive and respectful towards senior citizens.
Like in other countries, the number of senior citizens is increasing rapidly in Bangladesh. At the same time, their various challenges are also increasing, she said, adding, with the development of the country, the speed has increased in every sphere of life.
"Today, it is the moral responsibility of everyone to fulfill their responsibility towards those whose labor, talent and experience have contributed in building the country," the premier said.
Responding to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, today's senior citizens earned the red-green flag through in the Liberation War of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said, adding "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was very sensitive towards senior citizens. He inserted a constitutional pledge for the indigent elderly people in Article 15 (Gha) of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh to provide social security for senior citizens".
"Our government introduced various social security programmes, including the old age-allowance scheme, for the first time in 1996. Today, this initiative is widely appreciated in the country and abroad. We have taken steps to gradually bring all senior citizens eligible for the old age-allowance under this program in each upazila," Sheikh Hasina said.
The government enacted the National Policy on Older Persons and the Parent's Care Act in 2013, she said, adding, "We have taken steps to ease the process of paying pension for retired government employees and giving Baisakhi allowance directly through EFT".
The government has played a unique role in providing dignity, priority and other facilities to senior citizens, the premier said, adding, "The recent introduction of universal pension allowance outside government employees is a strong move by our government. Through this, the elderly people of the country will get a unique opportunity to live a safe and prosperous life at their last age by getting secure financial support".
Underscoring the need for awakening the family and social values, Sheikh Hasina urged private organizations to come forward along with the government to protect the rights and facilities of senior citizens.
The President and the Prime Minister wished all-out success of all programmes of the day.
The International Day of Older Persons has been observed across the world since 1991 aiming to creating public awareness about old age along with ensuring security and rights for the senior citizens.
On December, 14 in 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons (resolution 45/106).
This was preceded by 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 UN General Assembly.