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Delhi government budget proposals for people with disabilities have some shining ideas

The budget for next fiscal year announced by Delhi government has provisions for people with disabilities that have been welcomed by the community. The proposals announced cover a wide range of welfare activities.

These will be effective from 2019-20 and here are some details:

  1. Students with disabilities will be provided with a Fixed Deposit Scheme that to help them pursue their education goals. The scheme will be on the same pattern as the 'Laadli' Scheme.

The fixed deposit scheme has got a thumbs up from disability rights advocate Nipun Malhotra.

"I feel the fixed deposit scheme will benefit and change a lot of lives. The monetary help will encourage and motivate students with disabilities to go for higher education. - Nipun Malhotra, CEO, Nipman Foundation

  1. Parents with disabilities will be provided financial assistance for the marriage of their daughters.

This too has been broadly welcomed, although as Muralidharan Vishwanathan, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled points out there is little clarity so far about the details.

"The proposal to help parents with disabilities in getting their daughters married is definitely a great step. However, there is no clarification given about criteria involved and the amount that will be given out."

Vishwanathan also said that the proposals have some measures that are a welcome departure from the past. "It has promised to subsidies purchase of tricycles and scooters for students with locomotor disabilities. This, if properly implemented would be a boon for a lot of students who have issues travelling by inaccessible and overcrowded public transport".

  1. The budget will offer discounts to disabled students in the price of scooters and motorized tricycles that are designed for persons with locomotor disability.
  1. Provision for setting up of Institute of Rehabilitation and Allied Services to Persons with Disabilities.

Disability rights leader Dr Satendra Singh, says the move to announce a budget for the disability sector is a welcome one. "It is good to finally see the government coming out with a budget for disability sector Still a lot needs to be done but with the Social Welfare Department receptive to stakeholder consultations, we are hoping things will improve. The onus lies on the various committees mandated under RPwD Act to suggest innovative schemes to circumvent the lacunas", said Dr Singh

  1. The proposals for economically weaker sections and beggars focus on skill development and rehabilitation and this is a good move, say experts.

"Since begging is decriminalized, skill development can provide the alternate livelihood option for people who are forced to beg", said "Nikita Sara, Head Advocacy & Communication, The Leprosy Mission Trust India. . "However, people with leprosy are still facing social stigma and lack of support from the authorities. Most people with leprosy are not getting disability pension and are trying to survive on minimal leprosy pension. We hope that the government will focus on improving lives of those affected by leprosy and involve the various stake holders in the process".

Striking a note of caution, Danish Mahajan, General Secretary, Radio Udaan, said much of this will remain on paper in the absence of effective implementation, which he says has been a weak point.

"In the last four years, the government has failed to do much for the disabled people in the state. The announcements and schemes are meaning less if there is no consistency in policies and they only remain on paper".

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