Coronavirus-news December 4, 2020
Centre puts forward recommendations to states for welfare of disabled people during Covid
The Central Advisory Board on Disability, last week asked all states and union territories to submit a report on actions taken for the disability sector during Covid times. In the meeting chaired by union minister Tawar Chand Gehlot, many other crucial decisions pertaining to the disability sector were also taken. Disability rights activists hope that recommendations from the board are going to be followed strictly by state/UT governments.
As people with disabilities struggle to come out of the pandemic, there has been massive criticism from across India that central and state governments have not done enough to protect or safeguard the community. Last week, Central Advisory Board on Disability (CABD) asked all states and union territories to submit a report on actions taken by them for the disabled community during Covid pandemic. The board also urged states to appoint commissioners and set up advisory boards at the earliest. Though members from the disabled community welcome the move, they are waiting to see how well this is going to be implemented in months to come.
Prime discussions held at the board
The meeting chaired by social justice and empowerment minister Tawar Chand Gehlot asked all states and union territories (UT’s) to maintain details online regarding vacancies reserved for disabled people so that there is better transparency. Special recruitment drives to fill backlog vacancies must also be done at the earliest, said Gehlot. Since there are numerous posts for disabled people that still remains vacant in many state and UT’s, providing them opportunities will help many disabled people to support themselves and their families during Covid times.
The board also wanted ‘Accessible India’ campaign, to make all public places accessible, implemented at the earliest. A final report was asked to be submitted within six months to the Department of Empower of Persons with Disabilities for notification (DEPWD). Apart from these, the board also highlighted on the need for implementation of RPWD act, 2016 and Unique Disability ID project.
Providing assistive devices to people with disabilities, rehabilitation of children with disabilities, measures taken by states and UT’s for welfare of disabled were some of the other matters discussed. In the meeting where representatives from different states participated, a speedy solution was assured for all problems pertaining to the disability space.
Voices from the disability sector
Jomy Joseph, a disability rights advocate from Kerala says, “This is indeed a good initiative. Every state has an advisory committee to implement and mandate the RPWD act, 2016. The board needs to have representatives from different NGO’s that works in the disability space. There must be a report on facilities given to persons with disabilities during Covid times. All the initiatives that were started for disabled people during Covid times must also be looked into since the community welcomes different schemes introduced during these times. They have asked to strengthen ‘Accessible India’ campaign which is a great thing”.
Unni Maxx, a popular name in the disability space says, “Covid has affected many people, especially the disabled in a very bad way. The many promises given by state governments were never fulfilled. In Kerala, disability pension was given without hassles. But that is not the only thing that we need. Promises given to the disability sector are often just gimmicks. If a board comes to make things stricter it would be great. Funds have never been a cause for concern because it is available”.
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