Address by Governor at the Founders’ Day function of the King George V Memorial Anand Niketan
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Founders’ Day function of the King George V Memorial Anand Niketan at Dr E Moses Road, Near Famous Studio, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400011 at 1630 hrs on Friday 11 January 2019
Shri Subodh Jaiswal, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Shri Ronny Mendonca, retired DGP, Dr. Eric Borjes, Honorary Chairman, King George V Memorial Anand Niketan, Smt Vandana Uberoi, Honorary Secretary, Prof. Rupa Shah, Honorary Treasurer, all distinguished Members of the Managing Committee, trustees of joint projects, donors, members of the Anand Niketan family, staff, volunteers, dear children and friends,
Good evening and greetings to you.
I am indeed happy to visit Anand Niketan for the second time. I had visited Anand Niketan during Diwali, shortly after taking charge as Governor of Maharashtra in the year 2014.
I was happy to see the joy on the face of children who performed today. I was also happy to see the Audio Visual presentation on the work being done by various organisations in the Anand Niketan campus.
Since its establishment in the year 1938, Anand Niketan has provided care and shelter to hundreds of disadvantaged, differently-abled, terminally ill, old, orphans and other members of society.
The sapling of service planted nearly 81 years ago, has blossomed into a large banyan tree offering shelter to various disadvantaged and neglected sections of society.
I was happy to know that 9 well-known organizations including Bal Asha Trust, Vatsalya Foundation, Aured, National Association for the Blind, Cancer Patients Aid Association, Akanksha, etc, are together striving to provide a life of dignity, care and love to some of the most disadvantaged children and elders of society.
Anand Niketan is indeed fortunate in having as its honorary chairman Dr Eric Borjes, one of the finest Cardiologists having deep and abiding passion for social causes. In fact every member of the Managing Committee has been a leading light of our society having rendered distinguished services to society in various walks of life.
Volunteers, social workers and committed staff, form the backbone of service organizations.
The Government of Maharashtra and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai have always lent their consistent support to the noble work.
I congratulate each one of you on the joyous occasion of the Founders’ Day function.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There was a time when every member of society including the sick, old, orphan and terminally ill was taken care of, by the community and the institution of joint family.
Rapid growth in India’s population, the ever growing trend towards urbanization and the breaking of joint families have rendered the disadvantaged members of our society such as the poor, old, the sick and the terminally ill – particularly vulnerable.
More than ever in the past, there is a need to create a caring and inclusive society that will accept every such person as part of human diversity and strive for the socio-economic integration of such member with the larger society.
It is estimated that by 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, that is 8 years younger than the average age of a Chinese or an American.
But there is another side to the demographic dividend. According to the 2011 census, India has 104 million elderly people having age of 60 and above. It is expected that the country will have 340 million elderly people by 2050. Which means, India will have an elderly population which is more than the total population of the United States !!
Secondly, as per the figures by the World Bank, India also has a population of 5 per cent or more who are suffering from disability. There are very limited opportunities to the differently-abled persons for participation in social and economic process.
In the years to come, India will have to accord high priority to socio-economic, financial and physical care of the elderly and also, find ways to harness the potential of the differently abled persons as contributing members of society.
Famous British physicist Stephen Hawking once said, “People with disabilities are vulnerable because of the many barriers they face: attitudinal, physical, and financial. Addressing these barriers is within our reach. But most important, addressing these barriers will unlock the potential of so many people with so much to contribute to the world.” (unquote)
The biggest challenge for organisations like Anand Niketan is to unlock the potential of the ‘so many people around us’, who have ‘so much to contribute’ for the welfare of the most vulnerable sections of society.
Five years ago, the government introduced a legislation that mandated Corporates to spend 2 per cent of their profits for social cause. Even though many Corporates are doing commendable work in social sectors, there are limitations to their efforts.
Time has come for each one of us to discharge our Individual Social Responsibility. From CSR, we have to move to ISR. If every single individual pledges his time, effort and resources for social causes, we can offer a more dignified living to the most vulnerable sections of society.
It is reassuring that Young India is keen to discharge Individual Social Responsibility and contribute to the social agenda of the country. Channelizing the youth power for social causes will help us improve the standard of living of our disadvantaged people and build a more caring and inclusive society.
Children are future citizens of the nation. There is a need for constant interaction between our schools and colleges and institutions like Anand Niketan. Today both these institutions are working in exclusion of each another. Visits by students to such institutions will sensitize them towards the larger problems of our society.
I will call upon all the sister organizations working under the aegis of Anand Niketan to take steps for the capacity building and skill development of persons involved with various projects. It will improve the quality of delivery and outcomes of their services.
Let us on this day decide to offer love and affection to every member of Anand Niketan and to every disadavantaged person in the country. It doesn’t cost much.
I congratulate you once again on the Founder’s day and wish you all Godspeed in your noble endeavours.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!