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Friday, 19 August 2011 15:44

Himachal Pradesh: Social welfare and Justice

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Schemes for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

  1. Disability identity card
  2. Self employment scheme
  3. Regional Resource Center for PWDs.
  4. Scholarships for PWDs
  5. Special schools for CWDs
  6. Grant in aid for Marriage of PWDs
  7. Rehabilitation  Programme for PWDs.

State Policy for Persons with Disabilities, Himachal Pradesh

1. Introduction

Disability summarizes a great number of different functional limitations occurring in any population due to impairments. People of all ages and ethnicities have impairments - intellectual, psychiatric, physical, neurological, or sensory which may be temporary, intermittent or ongoing.

One common experience faced by person with disabilities is that of various forms of discrimination and social exclusion. They continue to face physical and attitudinal barriers to their full participation in society and equal and effective enjoyment of all human rights.

The framers of the Indian Constitution were well aware of the fact that in the process of providing true equality some benefits would have to be given to certain sections of the society. Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India clearly recognize this concept. Under the Directive Principles of State Policy, Article41 of the Constitution of India states that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provisions for securing unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases if undeserved want. Concomitant to these provisions “THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995” was brought into force from the 1st of January, 1996. This legal provision was also necessary to give effect to the “Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of the People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region” of which India is a signatory and UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD) which was ratified by India on 1st October 2007.

2. Population of Persons with Disabilities in the State

As per Census of 2001, there are 1,55,950 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Himachal Pradesh, which constitute approximately 2% of the total population. The data includes all categories of persons with impairment irrespective of degree of impairment. Out of these, 1,44,756 live in rural areas while 11,194 are residents of towns/cities. The data also reveals that 81, 240 PWDs are literate while the rest of 74,710 are illiterate. Maximum numbers of PWDs i.e. 64,122 are challenged with visual impairment followed by 15,239 PWDs with Hearing and 12, 762 with speech impairment respectively. Since the census data consists of all persons having disability to any extent irrespective of the definition of disability as laid down in the Persons with Disability Act, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (SJ&E) has taken an initiative in 2007-08 to identify the persons with disabilities in the state through the network of ICDS which has a wide reach right down to every household of the state, to provide remedial and rehabilitation services to them. As a result of this survey total 66,932 Persons with Disabilities have been identified out of which 10,611 are Visually impaired, 11,924 Hearing Impaired, 36,249 Orthopedically impaired and 8,148 Intellectually Challenged persons. The disability wise and age wise status of the PWDs identified is at Annexure 4]

3. Existing Legal Framework

For the protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities and to ensure their equal participation in the development of the state, the Government of H.P. is implementing the following legislations:

3.1 Persons with Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, provides for medical facilities, education, employment, creation of barrier free environment, social security etc. The State Government is instrumental in implementing the various provisions of the Act. The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment (SJ&E) is the nodal Department for coordinating and facilitating the implementation of the Act. To give impetus to the implementation of the Act, a State Level Coordination Committee under the Chairpersonship of the Hon’ble Minister (Social Justice & Empowerment) has been constituted. This committee is being supported by the State Executive Committee to review and formulate the strategy for implementation of different provisions of the Act in coordination with different departments.

3.2 National Trust for welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act, 1999 has provisions for providing legal guardianship to persons suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability and for creation of an enabling environment to make them more independent. The National Trust Act, 1999 is being implemented in the State and Local Level Committees have been constituted in all 12 districts and legal guardians for the persons with these disabilities are being appointed. To further strengthen the grievances redressal mechanism for PWDs, Principal Secretary (SJ&E) has been appointed as Commissioner (Disability) and Director (SJ&E) as Joint Commissioner (Disability). Also, at the District level the Deputy Commissioners have been appointed as Deputy Commissioner (Disability) and all District Welfare Officers have been appointed as District Officers (Disability).

4. Need for a State Policy

The achievement of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities requires active collaboration of the community and NGOs with the State Government. In order to be able to achieve this, there is a need to develop a State Policy on Disability. Through this, an attempt is being made to identify, formulate and envisage schemes and programmes while targeting the ultimate goal of independence, equal treatment, and full participation for all the persons with disabilities. The need for an appropriate State Policy also emerges from the recognition that a majority of Persons with Disabilities can lead a better quality of life if, provided equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:56
 

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