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Activists demand pension hike for disabled

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Kolkata, July 23 :

As many as 70 disabled residents and activists of the city demonstrated Wednesday, demanding a hike in their pension or maintenance allowance.

They also requested the central government to “speed up” the availability of universally valid disability card.

Affiliates of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) submitted a written petition to the disability commissioner here to raise the Rs.400 pension to a minimum of Rs.3,000 per month for people with severe or multiple disabilities in the age group of 18-59 years and belonging to below poverty level families.

“A pittance of Rs.300 is currently given under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS). The central government has urged states to contribute at least a matching amount from their own resources. In Bengal, the amount of Rs.400 is insufficient,” said Shampa Sengupta of Sruti Disability Rights Centre.

“Maintenance allowance should be more for people with higher degrees of disability. There is a need to have a uniform criteria throughout the country,” she said.

Disability activists also protested against the state government for failing to provide jobs to the disabled.

The NPRD welcomed the central government’s decision to issue universally valid identity cards for disabled people.

“However, currently, 65 percent disabled people do not possess even existing certificates, remaining out of any social security scheme. It is necessary the government speeds up the process of providing the universally valid disability card,” said Muralidharan, an NPRD spokesperson.

(IANS)