While the 2018 -19 has disappointed many and satisfied few: among those who were left dismayed are persons with disabilities. The PM named them ‘ Divyaang’ but not much has been done to uplift them socially and financially.
The Nation Platform for the Rights of the Disabled persons ( NPRD) has issued a statement expressing concerns.
The finance minister seems to have left disabled persons out of the ‘ faster growth’ economy trajectory. After passage of Rights for the Persons with Disabilities ( RPD Act 2016) , there were hopes of assisting disabled persons. But, miserly allocations to various positive provisions reflect utter lack of sincerity on the part of the government to implement provisions.
The outlay for the department for the empowerment of disabled persons has been marginally increased to Rs. 215 crores as compared to last year. The allocation for the Scheme for Implementation of persons with Disabilities Act (SIDPA) is mere RS. 300 crore. This includes provision for much touted ‘ accessible India’ campaign making 600 official buildings, websites, transport system accessible to disabled though it excludes vast majority of rural population.
While there have been pompous and grand announcements of modernising railways with escalators and other equipment, there has been no mention of lifts accessible to disabled or toilets that can be accessed by disabled persons.
Though the highlight of the budget has been the launching of National Health Protection Scheme, ironically, money has not been released for Swavalamban scheme launched in 2015 for persons with disabilities. With the absence of disaggregated data on various ministries of disabled, a clear picture cannot emerge on the allocation of money.
It becomes clear that disabled persons continue to be abjectly neglected lot from ‘ ease of living’ .
( India – A totally Disappointing Union Budget 2018 from the Disability perspective – kracktivist.org )
For the fourth consecutive year, there has been absolutely nothing for the disabled according to Menakshi B. Equals Centre for Promotion of Social Justice, Chennai. Nambu Rajan (Tamil Nadu Association for Rights of Differently Abled persons and Caregivers said disabled have been sidelined. Thehindu.com, Budget leaves persons with disability yet again, Zubeda Hamid, published February,2, 2018). Even the existing provisions are not being addressed by the government.
There is a need to press for a fair deal in parliament by all political parties. Human rights activists should protest discrimination of handicapped persons.
Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere