People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 52

December 27, 2009

Delegation Raises Disabled People’s Issues

 

ON December 19, representatives of various organisations working among the disabled persons in several states met the union social justice and empowerment minister, Mukul Wasnik, at New Delhi, and submitted to him a memorandum enlisting some urgent issues confronting this section.

In the main, the delegation led by CPI(M) MP and Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat appraised the minister of the difficulties encountered by the NGOs, special schools, shelter homes, hostels etc due to a reduction in the allocations being made to them over the past two or three years under the Deen Dayal Rehabilitation Scheme. Some of these special schools and homes are on the verge of closure due to the paucity of funds. The delegation also pointed out that there is a lack of transparency in the whole process and there are allegations of corruption in the disbursement of funds. They demanded that the funds be restored to their original levels.

Through its memorandum, the delegation also urged upon the minister to take up with the concerned ministries the issue of the Antyodaya cards, housing, Indira Awas Yojana, and increase in compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act etc.

The delegation further demanded that the ministry of social justice, being the nodal ministry for the disabled, should take up with all other ministries the issue of allocation of three per cent of the budget for the welfare of the disabled persons. It also raised the issue of universal identity cards for the disabled persons. The delegation emphasised the need for having a separate department for looking after the affairs of the disabled.

The minister explained the change in policy of allocation of funds under the Deen Dayal Rehabilitation Scheme, which has led to the drastic reduction in allocation of funds for the organisations which were earlier benefiting from this scheme. Until now, organisations from only five or six states were availing of the allocations under this scheme and the ministry has decided to make a notional allocation to each of the states, based on the population of the disabled persons in the concerned state. In response, the delegation demanded an increase in allocations to increase the spread of the scheme to other states rather than cutting down the allocations to the existing institutions and harming the interests of the disabled persons who had earlier been getting the scheme’s benefits. 

The minister assured that he will take the issue up with the prime minister and see that the issue is addressed. He also assured the delegation that allocations would be made to the existing beneficiaries in the current year. The minister further assured the delegation that with regard to the issue of medical certificates the current practice of obtaining medical certificates from the Medical Boards situated at the district headquarters would be dispensed with. Instead, doctors who are specialised in that particular area can issue certificates at the level of the primary health centre (PHC) itself. Now, only multiple disability will have to be certified by a medical board. Wasnik also assured that he would take up the issue of allocation of three per cent of the budget with all the ministries, and also raise the issues of Antyodaya cards and housing for the disabled.

The delegation included Sailen Chaudhury from the Pashchimbanga Rajya Pratibandhi Samilani, Kolkata; Parasuvaikkal Mohanan & O Vijayan from the Differently Abled Persons Welfare Federation, Kerala; G N Nagaraj from the Karnataka Rajya Angavikalara Mattu Palakara Okkota, Karnataka; Dr Subash Gupta from the Jharkand Vikalanga Morcha, Jharkhand; Namburajan from the All India Confederation of Organisations for Persons with Mental Disability; Ramulu from Andhra Pradesh and Muralidharan  from New Delhi. (INN)