Panchkula, March 14 – Haryana Government has a plan to set up a "Viklang Jan Sansthan” where training in different trades would be imparted to illiterate persons with disabilities so as to rehabilitate them. A committee, headed by Chief Secretary, has also been constituted in this regard.
This was revealed at a day-long seminar on Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities for Inclusive Rural Development, held at Panchkula. The first of its kind seminar was organised by the office of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Haryana Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Mrs Kartar Devi said in her inaugural address that she would urge the State Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda to consider making a reservation for persons with disabilities in Panchayats on the pattern of women and members belonging to Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes so as to give them equal opportunity in developmental process.
Mrs Kartar Devi was responding to the suggestion for reservation of disabled persons in Panchayats made at the seminar. She added that in doing so the issues concerning this section of the society would be addressed with more thrust. She assured the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Manoj Kumar, who was present on the occasion, that other suggestions or recommendations of the seminar would also be considered by the State government. She also assured that the State government, under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, would continue to implement welfare programmes for the persons with disabilities. She said that
the State government had already enhanced the retirement age from 58 to 60 years for those suffering from a minimum of 70 per cent or more disability. Apart from this, the pension for those suffering from 100 per cent disability had also been doubled to Rs. 600 per month. Similarly, the retainership allowance for blind canners had also been enhanced from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 per month.
The Minister said that efforts had also been made to complete the backlog of vacancies for disabled persons. She said that she had herself written to all heads of departments in the State that posts reserved for the disabled should not be left vacant and filled up on priority basis. By offering them employment opportunities, she said, would help them in infusing among themselves a sense of confidence and also provide them a mean of livelihood.
The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Manoj Kumar stressed the need for giving equal opportunities to the disabled in
the developmental process adding that all must get an opportunity to exhibit their skills. He said that while the Section 40 of the Persons with Disabilities ( Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 required "the appropriate governments and local authorities to reserve not less than three per cent in all poverty alleviation schemes for the benefit of persons
with disabilities,” not much attention has been paid to this aspect and it continued to be less than the mandatory limit. While detailing out the reasons for this deficiency, he said that the ratio between urban and rural population has reduced and the disabled population has not migrated. There was also problem of skill and disability adding that disability was linked to the problems of mobility and poverty.
Dr. Manoj Kumar pointed out that as even unskilled work also required
a little bit of skill, the aspect of unskilled cateogry should also be given a fresh look. He suggested the need for skill development and evolving a training module for the disabled persons. He said that while the recommendations of the seminar would be forwarded to the Union Rural Development Ministry, he suggested that the poverty alleviation schemes should be modified in such a manner that these also bring the disabled under their ambit. He said that he would like Haryana to become a trendsetter for the welfare of disabled. This, he said, was his vision.
The Deputy Chief Commissioner, Mr. T.D. Dhariyal pointed out that as
per census 2001, as much as 2.1 per cent of India’s population was suffering from disability of one or the other kind. About 75 per cent of them were in rural areas and most of them belonged to the poorest strata of the society with high percentage of illiteracy. He regretted that utilisation of funds or inclusion of persons with disabilities in various poverty alleviation schemes has remained between 0.37 per cent and 1.07 per cent despite efforts made by concerned ministries and departments.
Commissioner, Disabilties , Haryana, Dr. Baldev Karora said that there was a need to sensitise the teachers about the needs of disabled students.Commissioner, Disabilties,Punjab, Mr Harjit Singh also spoke on the occasion.
The Managing Director, Haryana Backward Classes and Economically
Weaker Sections Kalyan Nigam, Mr. R.P. Chander said that the seminar would go a long way in evolving strategies to ameliorate the lot of the persons with disabilities.
Earlier, Mr. T.D. Dhariyal gave a presentation on the functioning of
the office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilties.
Delegates from the states of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh participated in the seminar.