Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 30:
Prof Dr Shruti Mohapatra, Honorary Chief Executive of Swabhiman, an organisation fighting for the rights of people with disability today rued the fact that more than 80% of the rules and regulations framed by the Odisha government for the disabled remain on paper while the budget allocated for programmes at them is spent on other heads.
Speaking to media persons here today, Dr Mohapatra said the benefits of government schemes like MGNREGS, DRI loans, District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDCR), Indira Awas Yojna, Mo Kudia, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, inclusive education, immunization, Intensified Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI), Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY) and concession in private and government buses seldom reach persons with disability (PWDs).
Citing the findings of a recent study done by ‘Swabhiman’ with support from National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), Ms Mohapatra said the number of PWDs who got work under the MGNREGS in eight districts of the state had fallen drastically over the years. While 1344 out of the 10541 registered PWDs got jobs under the flagship rural job guarantee programme in 2011-12, the number fell to just 939 out of 10, 804 in 2012-13. The eight districts covered in the study were Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Khurda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Puri and Sundargarh.
“This shows a huge decrease in the number of PWDs getting work under the scheme. Though the PWDs register their name for the scheme, the output is not satisfactory as most of the jobs are not disabled-friendly”, she said.
The eminent disability activist demanded that the Odisha government should instruct all departments to properly implement 3 per cent of the budget to deal with disability issues and to plan various programmes and schemes for them as provided for in the 11th five year plan (2007-12) by the Planning Commission.
“The State Government should instruct all departments, including women and child development, transport, home and higher education to properly implement and utilize the three per cent budget allocation for PWDs,” Dr Mohapatra said.
She underlined the need for formation of an independent department for disability for which a separate budget should be allocated for the overall welfare of PWDs.