Is the state indifferent towards the differently abled?

May 06, 2014, 01:47 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

In a bid to integrate them into the mainstream, Department for Persons with Disabilities proposed in April last year that couples with disabled spouse be awarded Rs 50,000; this scheme is still waiting to be reviewed by the state govt

In a bid to integrate people with disabilities into the mainstream, the Department for Persons with Disabilities had sent several proposals to the state government last year.

Left out: Marriage, and social integration, is always a major source of concern for the disabled. Representation Pic

Of them, the most significant one proposed that the government release funds that could be used to grant monetary awards to couples in which one or both spouses are handicapped.

The department for person with disabilities located in Camp

This proposal, along with 17 others, has been stuck in red tape for over a year now. The schemes were estimated to cost the government Rs 48.25 crore. However, even though a year has passed since these proposals were sent, the state cabinet is yet to give a green signal for the schemes that could make a huge difference to the lives of disabled residing in the 35 districts of the state.

State Social Justice Minister Shivaji Moghe

In 2010, the government had first declared that it was planning to launch a scheme in which each couple with a disabled spouse would be awarded Rs 50,000. In the three years that followed, the department studied its feasibility and prepared to launch the scheme. The proposal was tabled before the Ministry of Social Welfare only last year. With a year having passed since the proposal was submitted, it is still waiting its turn at being reviewed by the state cabinet.

In stark contrast to the state’s apathy to the scheme, the neighbouring state of Goa introduced it back in 1994. “We are following up on what happened to the proposals. It is unlikely that there was a financial shortage, as the estimated cost of all the 18 proposals is only Rs 48.25 crore, which can easily be covered by the budget that is allotted separately to the Ministry of Social Welfare,” said Dnyaneshwar Rajurkar, commissioner, Persons with Disabilities dept.

When contacted, the Minister for Social Welfare Shivaji Moghe said that the government had approved some of the proposals, and the relevant schemes would soon be launched in the state.

“I will not be able to say exactly which proposals were approved by the state government, but it is true that some of them have been sanctioned, and we will soon publish the Government Resolution announcing the launch of those welfare schemes for the disabled,” Moghe said.

29.63 lakh
Number of disabled persons living in the state, as per the 2011 census

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