The United Nation's (UN) International Day of Older Persons is observed annually on October 01 by all UN member states to recognise the contributions of Older Persons and examine issues that affect their lives. The United Nation's General Assembly had voted to establish October 01 as the International Day of Older Persons on December 04, 1990. It appears that the UN has been constantly reminding member states to take steps to ensure Active Ageing and Healthy Ageing.
The theme for the 2018 celebration is 'Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions'. This message will be carried and spread by the government of each member state and respective Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) of each country through different programmes during the Day.
Internationally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been playing a significant role in observing and actively promoting the Day. Discussions are held related to the aging population, providing adequate health provisions, social care and volunteer work. Another specialised organisation the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) extends financial assistance to observe the Day. Other organisations who remain active during this day through various events aimed at promoting the cause are International Federation on Aging and Help age International.
Some of the events carried out on the Day include colourful processions, seminars and more. Global and national television channels along with other media in their respective programmes highlight the Day, raising awareness of viewers of all ages for mutual respect and affection.
Generally, persons over 60 years of age are categorised as 'older persons'. In Bangladesh, anyone who reaches the age of retirement under government or public sector firms is considered an older person. Such people get different retirement benefits like pension, provident fund and gratuity. But there is no National Pension Scheme that is followed by all organisations. There is also no nationally recognised age for superannuation.
The retirement age varies between government officials of all classes and public universities. Further, extensions are given in some cases and at higher levels, on political considerations.
It is necessary to determine the actual age for older person's in Bangladesh and this needs to be followed by all organisations. For example, the entry age for a member to Bangladesh Association for Aged and Institute of Geriatric Medicine (BAAIGM) is still 55 years of age. A Life Member of the organisation has already tabled a proposal to increase the age to 60 years. Later, the government declared that 65 years is the starting point for older persons.
In order to ensure the benefits of older persons, a national pension scheme along with other benefits can be made compulsory so that all private and public organisations follow this. Also, the actual age for older person's need to be followed in all organisations of the country.
Qumrul Islam is an economist, advocate and social activist
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