Committee recommends separate department to deal with disabled

October 20th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) There should be a separate department to deal with persons with disabilities, a parliamentary committee said in a report Monday while noting that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had not done enough for such people. The Estimates Committee of the Lok Sabha that studied programmes and schemes for Welfare of Persons with Disabilities came down heavily on the ministry for leaving “a wide gap between the policy and grassroot reality”.

In the final report, the committee said that it was “distressed that the National Trust (for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999) could not fully utilise the funds from 2001-02 to 2006-07” and was “astonished to note that the reason given by the ministry was the absence of NGOs working in the area”.

Talking about NGOs, the committee asked for appropriate legal action against the organisations that misuse the grants given by the ministry.

The committee has recommended that the ministry devise a mechanism to associate Panchayati Raj institutions, local bodies, MLAs/MPs for the effective implementation of the National Policy for Persons with Disability, 2006.

There is also emphasis to include people with other kinds of disabilities like thallassaemia, fluorosis, cochlear implant to be recognised among Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, and mentally ill persons to be included in the National Trust Act.

Interestingly, the committee noted that the ministry did not have any agency to check the quality of devices given to the disabled, leading to accidents like breaking of crutches at times. The committee has strongly recommended maintaining the standard of such devices.

Another important observation was the disparity in salary of staff working in NGOs, a major cause of discontent among them and their leaving. It recommended good salaries for the teachers of special schools so that children are not deprived of good guidance.

The committee has asked the ministry to take steps to fill up all vacant posts meant for people with disabilities and also take up the matter of identifying the higher posts with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as early as possible.

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