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    KLN Award   The KLN Award recognizes individuals, social catalysts, who through their work have made notable contributions to enhancing the dignity, care, and well-being of elders in India.   Economic reorganization and reform in India has brought with it an attendant shift in social organization, with the nuclear family now increasingly the base unit. As Indian society transitions away from the joint / extended family providing for the care of all of its members from birth to death, elders face the brunt of the many challenges involved in that shift. Elders who relied on the social security net implicit in joint and extended families, find that net disappearing or shrinking as a nuclear family becomes the norm, especially in larger urban areas. In the absence of a credible and adequately funded state-sponsored social security system, elders without pensions, savings, or other sources of income find themselves at risk in terms of their overall well-being. Older, especially widowed women, who have spent their lives as home-makers and care-givers, increasingly see their quality of life deteriorate sharply, forced to become responsible for their own care without an adequate support system. On the spectrum of elder care concerns, large numbers of elders find themselves unable to adequately provide for themselves, face social isolation or exclusion, deprivation and neglect, and an increasing risk and occurrence of abuse.   Legislative efforts such as the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, penalize economic neglect or abandonment of parents and grandparents, and appears to be grounded in the disappearing legacy of the joint/extended family as the base unit of social organization. This disconnect in state policy reflects the social disconnect of an aspirational society that looks forward, and seeks individual-centric economic opportunity and growth, and looks backward, nostalgically, to retaining historical traditions of extended family kinships. The National Social Assistance Program of 1995, modeled on the failing generational-transfer based social security programs of advanced economies, is largely symbolic and severely underfunded. Economic reality precludes state funding of any meaningfully adequate social security net for elders. This impasse highlights the need for a discourse that helps evolve India-specific solutions.   The KLN Award recognizes individuals who have, in their work, contributed to advancing the spectrum of concerns related to elders and elder care.      Second KLN Award   The second recipient of the KLN Award is Dr. Mala Kapur Shankardass of New Delhi.   Dr. Mala Kapur Shankardass, of New Delhi, is Associate Professor of Sociology at Maitreyi College, Delhi University, where she teaches at the graduate level.   In addition, Dr. Shankardass is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Adult Protection, UK; the India and Asia Chair of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse, a UN consultative body; a member of the Core Group on Protection and Welfare of Elderly Persons, National Human Rights Commission of India; a member of the governing body of the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India, Delhi Chapter; and member of the Planning Commission of India’s expert group Aspirations for the Elderly in India, among others. Dr. Shankardass has published extensively in academic journals and authored numerous articles in the media on aging, elder abuse, and poverty amongst the elderly. Her work and writing carry an emphasis on the greater vulnerability of women to the many issues that the elderly in general confront. She is the author, most recently, of the book Growing Old in India: Voices Reveal and Statistics Speak.   While official statistics for elder abuse are not available and not collected by the Government of India, anecdotal evidence of charities and NGOs suggests the occurrence of elder abuse is widespread and growing in India. Dr Shankardass frames the problem thus: “we n eed to bring concerted effort to have national studies on prevalence estimates of elder abuse and then move from awareness to action towards interventions for reducing abuse and neglect by recognizing gender dimensions of the problem and identifying risk f  actors. It is without doubt that … conceptual clarity on defining elder abuse has to  move more rapidly and education and training of researchers and practitioners has to be given lots of attention”. Dr. Shankardass has herself been giving the subject her own time and effort, as evidenced by her extensive writing and speaking engagements. She has been at the forefront of understanding, and raising awareness about, elder abuse and the many other issues faced by elders in India, and in suggesting and formulating policy and societal responses. To quote Dr. Shankardass again: “modernization, urbanization and technological change leading to urban migration, employment of women outside the home, nuclear families  –  have undermined the traditional patterns of care of the elderly, that is by the family.” First KLN Award   The first KLN Award goes to Dr. Padmanabha Vyasamoorthy   Dr. Padmanabha Vyasamoorthy, a septuagenarian from Hyderabad, is a PhD in Library Science. During his pre-retirement career, he set up and ran libraries and Information centers for academic, research, and industrial organizations such as the Technical Teachers’ Training Institute, Madras, Informatics India, Bangalore, and Indian Detonators, Satyam Computers, and ICICI Knowledge Park, Hyderabad. Since retirement, Dr. Vyasamoorthy has been involved with Aging and Aged Care issues, and contributed extensively to the literature of social gerontology. He started and moderates a Yahoo group for senior citizens, SSS Global, that is currently ranked 1st in over 26,000 groups worldwide focused on seniors. Dr. Vyasamoorthy maintains multiple blogs, moderates multiple discussion groups, and edits two online dailies. He has written six e-books and numerous articles and papers. Dr. Vyasamoorthy maintains the websites for the Association of Senior Citizens of Hyderabad and All India Senior Citizens Confederation, where he also serves as an officer. Dr. Vyasamoorthy’s services to senior citizens were re cognized by citation by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 2007, and he was awarded the Silver Innings-iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra 2011 for Exceptional Work for Senior Citizens.    Dr. Vyasamoorthy currently serves as President, Society for Serving Seniors, Secunderabad; President, Association of Senior Citizens, Hyderabad; Joint Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens Confederation; Joint Secretary. All India Senior Citizens Confederation; and Vice President, Senior Citizens Forum, Secunderabad. Dr. Vyasamoorthy has in the past served as Joint Secretary, Confederation of Cantonment Resident Welfare Associations in Secunderabad (CCRWAS) and as Vice President, Federation of Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens Organizations. He is a member of the Alzheimer’s and Rel ated Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), Hyderabad Deccan chapter, and the University of the Third Age (U3A India). He also volunteers at Aasara, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s outreach effort to senior citizens.   Dr. Vyasamoorthy retired around the same time as the internet was beginning to take off in the late 1990s, Google was in its infancy in a garage in California, and nobody had heard of “social media” since it had yet to take birth. Dr. Vyasamoorthy used all three, as they emerged, in effective ways to empower himself. He kept pace with technology, and through technology, with the forces changing the society around him. As an elder care activist, he used his skills, training, knowledge and expertise in technology to, in turn, disseminate to seniors, ideas, trends, and challenges that they were likely to encounter in a changing world. For his role as a social catalyst in the area of elder empowerment and elder care, we are pleased to award him the first KLN Award.   You can find more information about the KLN Award by clicking on the links to the right above.   Dr. Shankardass is not only a scholar and expert in the area of aging, elder abuse, and other issues affecting the elderly, she has taken that knowledge and expertise outside the halls of academia and, through the media, out into society at large. She has worked to table serious issues concerning elders, even as those issues were still emerging out of the enormous economic and social changes occurring in India. For her role as a social catalyst in the areas of aging and issues of concern to elders in India, we are pleased to award Dr.Mala Kapur Shankardass the second KLN Award.   Frequently Asked Questions  
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