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What are the Government initiatives for helping People with Disabilities?

By, The Say Foundation Team
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In the last few years, India has made a lot of progress in terms of accessibility for people with disabilities. In fact, the Indian government has taken a lot of steps to ensure that persons with disabilities get equal opportunities.

In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the initiatives taken by the Indian government for PwDs.

1. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act

The convention was first proposed by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006 and adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006. It came into force on May 3, 2008, 30 days after it was ratified by 20 countries. As of September 2019, the convention has been ratified by 167 countries and signed but not yet ratified by another 25 countries.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty that promotes, protects, and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities. The treaty was created in response to widespread discrimination against persons with disabilities and the lack of international recognition of their rights. 

The Convention seeks to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities, so that they can live free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence, and discrimination. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by India, making it a signatory nation (UNCRPD). In accordance with the requirements of Article 35 of the Convention, it ratified the treaty on October 1st, 2007.

2. Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme

The Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme, also known as DDRS, is a scheme implemented in India to help Persons with disabilities. The scheme was originally created in 1999 and revised in 2003. 

The main goals of the DDRS are to improve educational opportunities for people with disabilities, to expand vocational and professional opportunities, and to assist with employment placement efforts. Additionally, the DDRS aims to execute outreach and community-based rehabilitation efforts in both urban and rural areas. One of the key ways that the DDRS helps persons with disabilities is by providing funding for disabled programs/projects/activities. 

This funding helps cover the costs associated with things like manpower development, information production & distribution, and self-help initiatives. By covering these costs, the DDRS makes it easier for disabled individuals to access important services & resources that can improve their quality of life.

3. Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The 2016 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD) was a much-needed update to the 1995 Persons with Disabilities Act. The RPWD satisfies India's commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. The 2016 act superseded the 1995 act and expanded upon it in several important ways.

The 2016 act broadens the definition of disability to include not only physical but also mental and intellectual disabilities. This is in line with the UNCRPD's definition of disability as "an evolving concept that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Under the 2016 act, governments are responsible for ensuring that disabled people have equal rights. 

This includes guaranteeing access to education, employment, healthcare, social security, and safe and accessible environments. Furthermore, disabled people are entitled to additional perks like 5% reservation in higher education institutions, 4% reservation in government positions, 5% reserve in land allocation for housing purposes, etc.

You can read more about it in our previous blog: https://thesayfoundation.com/blog/pwds-have-rights-yes 

4. District Rehabilitation Centre

The District Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Gov. of India, to help disabled people in rural regions. Under this scheme, DRCs are proposed to be set up in every district of the country with a view to providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities living in rural areas.

These units will have a group of rehabilitation professionals who will provide services like identification of persons with disabilities, assessment of their needs and provision of various rehabilitative services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy etc. The scheme also envisages the setting up of resource centres at each DRC which would serve as training and resource base for the personnel working at the centre as well as for other stakeholders like panchayati raj institutions, social welfare department etc.

The Central Government shall develop, launch, and administer DDRC for three years, including funds for manpower contingencies, equipment, and coordination. Thereafter it shall be transferred to State Governments/Union Territories administrations. State government would offer rent-free buildings preferably located in backward or remote areas which are well connected by road/rail/air with all necessary basic infrastructure like water & electricity supply etc.

https://www.niepid.nic.in/DDRCs.php - You can find more details on this Government page. 

5. Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / Fitting of Aids and Appliances Scheme

This scheme was started by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the goal of helping handicapped people improve their economic situation. The scheme provides financial assistance to eligible disabled persons for the purchase/fitting of aids and appliances. It also covers costs related to repairs, maintenance, and replacement of equipment.

To be eligible for ADIP assistance, an individual must have a disability that is recognized by the government. Additionally, they must be enrolled in school (up to grade 9), be unemployed, or earn less than Rs 8,000 per year. For students above grade 9, the limit is Rs 10,000 per year. For those with multiple disabilities, each aid/appliance is considered separately when determining eligibility.

Eligible individuals can obtain an application form from the district office of the Department of Social Welfare or from any vocational rehabilitation centre. The completed form must be submitted along with supporting documents to the same office.

5. Various other Government schemes:

There are various other Government schemes and can be learned about them on this page. It covers children to adults, education to assistive devices, training to marketing help. 

https://thenationaltrust.gov.in/content/innerpage/schemes.php

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that the Indian Government has taken several initiatives to make sure that Persons with Disabilities are able to live their lives with dignity and respect. The Government is also working on making sure that all children are given access to education so they can become more independent in the future.

It is important for everyone to understand that the PwDs do not need sympathy but rather acceptance and support. We hope that these initiatives will help make India a better place for all its citizens.

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