18 Sep :Thirty five thousand and four hundred thirty (35430) disabled people have been provided with financial assistance to the tune of Rupees one hundred seventy four crore and sixty two lakh (Rs.174.62 crore) since the inception of National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation, (NHFDC) in 1997, informed Shri M. Ravi Kant, NHFDC during the inaugural of National Conference of NHFDC here today.While releasing the first Newsletter of NHFDC the Secretary of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri K.M. Acharya said that from next year onward NHFDC will be involved in disbursing scholarships to disabled through National Fund for Disabled Persons. He also informed that a major scheme to provide empowerment to disabled through employment in corporate sector will be given due importance and publicized at national level soon. The Scheme gives incentives to employers in private sector in form of grant from the Central Government for EPF and ESI benefit for the disabled employees of the company. He also said that since the National Policy for persons with Disabilities assigns an important role to NHFDC for self-employment ventures, the existing procedures need to be streamlined and diversified for the benefit of all the poor and the needy in a time-bound manner.
Shri Acharya ensured full support of the Ministry to NHFDC as the Mandate of NHFDC is to promote economic development activities and self-employment ventures for the benefit of persons with disabilities. The Corporation is also extending loans for pursuing education thereby leading to vocational growth and self-employment. NHFDC, having no zonal or regional office set up, can aspire for reaching the unreached , through State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) and NGOs and this underlines the important role of SCAs, as partners in progress of our nation.
He further added that in the midst of growing enthusiasm, NHFDC has been facing some difficulties too. Even after 11 years of its incorporation, a few large and small States such as Bihar, Orissa, Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalya etc. are yet to operationalise their State Channelising Agencies. SCAs are important and active partners of NHFDC for taking assistance to the grass-roots level. In the absence of adequate channels, the disabled will continue to be deprived of the flexible and concessional finance being provided by the Government through NHFDC. Though significant efforts have been made at NHFDC and Ministry level, some State governments are not giving serious and required attention and NHFDC as well as the Ministry will continue its efforts pursuing the State Governments and UTs for the uplift of the disabled by according top priority to the disabled sector.