Kerala government’s Kaivalya Project yet to take off, disability rights groups disappointed
The government of Kerala has generally been responsive and proactive when it comes to schemes that concern people with disabilities in the state, Which has made the community a tad disappointed over the delay in the launch of the much talked about Kaivalya Project.
Launched when the CPI(M) took charge in the state, the project aims to empower disabled people by helping them set up their own businesses. Under Kaivalya Project, an amount will be provided so that people with disabilities can start a venture and live independently. Over 6835 people put in their applications of which just 631 have benefitted.
Rajeev Palluruthy of the All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) says authorities are hedging when asked why there is such a delay.
Officials are playing the blame game. They say that funds have been blocked. This project is for people with all kinds of disabilities, many of whom rely on their families for financial support. If rightly implemented, the Kaivalya Project will be of great help to such people. We have given written complaints to minister, but nothing has been done yet. The Social Justice Department says the amount will be released as soon as possible and they are still accepting requests. - Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation
The Kerala government earmarked substantial funds for the project in 2016-17 to the tune of Rs 1,53,50,000. In 2017-18, it was Rs 84,97,000 and in 2018-19, it is Rs 77 lakh. An amount of up to Rs 50,000 will be provided as part of the project and the beneficiary has to repay Rs 25,000 by paying Rs 475 every month in five years. Disability rights groups are asking why there is a hold up.
Roy Jacob who is with the AKWRF in Idukki says his group has submitted 339 applications over the past two years. "Only 28 people have received it so far and every applicant has spent over Rs 5,000 on transportation and other expenses just to go meet the officials regarding this matter. A lot of time and money has been wasted", says Jacob.
With the elections round the corner, chances are the matter will take a backseat for the government and lead to more delays.