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Wheelchair users in Kerala unhappy over denial of scheme for self-employment

May 27, 2019

There are many schemes announced by various states as well as the Centre that promising welfare and benefits to people with disabilities. Many of them stay on paper because authorities at the local level are clueless about their existence, as this case from Kerala points out. .

In the 2018 Budget, the Kerala government had earmarked funds of Rs 25 lakh for wheelchair users as a means to promote self-employment. Almost a year down the line, funds for the scheme have not been released as yet.

Since people with disabilities like spinal cord injuries and muscular dystrophy are largely confined indoors, the scheme proposed to enable them to become financially independent by making things at home. There are many wheelchair users who earn a living by making umbrellas, jewellery, soaps and soap powders, handicrafts and more.

With no movement forward on this, they are deeply disappointed. Organisations working for people with such disabilities have raised their concerns with the Social Justice Department.. The response they have received has been shocking to say the least. They have been asked to give in details of the funds used by beneficiaries so far, when in fact, not a rupee has been released.

The funds were never released in the first place so how do we show them a report of it? This new plan to promote self-employment amongst disabled people was started so we could earn our living by doing something substantial. The order for the plan was issued in March 2018. Still, authorities have done nothing about it. What is the point of having such funds? - Dr Lyns Bin Mohamad, President, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation

That's not just it. A new plan was framed subsequently promising Rs 10 lakh, again for self-employment. This is yet to see the light as well. "We have lost all hope", says Rajeev Palluruthi, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation.. "When they announced the plan, they asked us for a proposal which we submitted. We even went to Thiruvananthapuram to sign a memo. In spite of our disabilities, we travelled all the way to the state capital. But till date, nothing has been done. This is unfair".

Organisations are now wondering whom to turn to for help given the consistent indifference on the part of authorities.

ALSO READ: Latest study points out only 36% of disabled people in India are employed



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