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February 1, 2021 Press Statement Union Budget: Disabled Cold Shouldered

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has issued the following statement:

 

 

The NPRD lodges its strong protest at the substantial reduction in budgetary support to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Even the meagre and inadequate Rs. 1325.39 estimated last time, has been further reduced to Rs. 1171.77 crores this time.

This substantial reduction of nearly 12 per cent will adversely impact various schemes and programmes that are being undertaken by the department. The “Scheme for Implementation for Persons with Disabilities Act” sees a cut in its allocation from Rs. 251.50 to Rs. 209.77 crores. The National Trust which caters to persons with autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities etc. is also witnessing lesser budgetary support. It has been reduced from Rs. 39.50 to Rs. 30.00 crore. Even allocations to the National Programme for Prevention of Blindness have been reduced by nearly 50 per cent from Rs. 20.00 to Rs. 10.50 crores as compared to last year. Grant in aid to state governments have also been reduced substantially.

When more disabled people are joining the ranks of the unemployed, it would have been prudent to enhance allocations for the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation, to enable it to provide loans to small businesses set up by disabled people. On the contrary budgetary support to the NHFDC has been drastically reduced from Rs. 41 crore provisioned in the 2019-20 budget to a mere Rs. 0.01 crore this time. The announcements made to vigorously pursue privatization of various public sector undertakings will adversely impact the disabled also. With the government unrelenting on the demand to extend reservations to the private sector, shrinking employment avenues in the government sector will see the ranks of the unemployed disabled bourgeoning.

The total expenditure earmarked for the national programmes for welfare of persons with disabilities has been reduced from Rs. 655 to Rs. 584 crores. The total towards schemes/projects has been reduced from Rs. 780.00 to Rs. 709.77 crores, this time. The total expenditure towards Social security & welfare has seen a reduction from Rs. 1126.79 to Rs. 988.59. Disability pension continues to be stagnant at Rs. 300 for the past many years.

In the pandemic situation, which saw a huge escalation in the number of mental health cases, the allocations made towards mental health displays the total lack of acknowledgement of the crisis. Allocations to the National Mental Health Programme remains constant at Rs. 40.00 crore. No support has been earmarked for the National Institute of Mental Health & Research for the last two years. However, unlike last time, there has been a slight increase in allocations to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru and the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoli Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur.

What is even more glaring is the complete omission of flagship programme started by this government the Accessible India campaign.

The government remains content with bestowing divine status and a label of divyang, even while pursuing policies that confine disabled citizens to the margins. Displaying complete indifference, during the entire two-hour long rhetoric filled speech by the Finance Minister, not once did she refer to disabled persons. Disabled atmas don’t matter. In earlier budgets, the disabled were disregarded or neglected. This time they have been cold shouldered. This is deplorable. The NPRD calls upon the disabled community to rise in unison and protest this disabled-unfriendly budget.

(Muralidharan)

General Secretary

National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled

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NPRD urges Government to make separate legistlation for RCI

December 10, 2020

 

Press Statement

 

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) expresses its serious concern at the proposed amendments to the Rehabilitation Council of India Act (RCI Act). Enacted in 1992, the RCI is mandated, in the main, to regulate and monitor the training of rehabilitation professionals.

Protest Decision to Shutdown NIVH Secunderabad & Kolkata  

December 17, 2020

Press Statement

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) lodges its strong protest against the decision of the National Institute of Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities, Dehradun to close down its regional chapters in Secunderabad & Kolkata.

Run by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, hundreds of visually impaired students, mainly from poorer economic backgrounds, join these regional centres every year for pursuing various courses towards enabling them to become economically independent. Both these regional centres were established in 1997.

The formation of such institutes and regional centres were in pursuit  of the country’s commitment to provide equal opportunities to one of the most marginalised and discriminated sections of our society.

The closure of these regional centres will impact not just students currently enrolled there, but locks the door on all future students from the concerned regions. The shutting down of the centres will also adversely impact free distribution of aids and appliances under government schemes, which were being done through these chapters.

The winding up of these regional centres cannot be seen in isolation. They are in pursuance of the New Education Policy 2020, whose thrust is commercialisation of education and the abdication of the State’s responsibility. When education becomes a commodity, the poor and the marginalised will be impacted more adversely.

Notwithstanding its rhetoric of commitment to the disabled, and coining patronising terms like “divyang”, all its actions have been on the contrary.

The NPRD urges upon the government not to ahead with the closure of these centres.

The West Bengal and Telangana affiliates of the NPRD will be holding demonstrations before the concerned regional centres to protest against this ill-advised regressive move.


(Muralidharan)
General Secretary

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National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD)
36, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla Lane
New Delhi 110 001
Tel. 11-23387674; 9868768543