Coronavirus-news November 7, 2020
Bureaucratic delays hamper distribution of financial aid for disabled people in Tamil Nadu
The coronavirus pandemic has left people with disabilities especially vulnerable. Recognising this, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister announced financial assistance for the community. Promises that remain on paper thanks to bureaucratic delays and endless paperwork.
An estimated 15 lakh people with disabilities across Tamil Nadu are yet to receive the financial assistance of ₹ 1,000 promised by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
All a disabled person needed to show to claim the relief was their disability certificate and the National Identity and Disability Certificate (NIDC) card. Not only that, the government said the assistance would be distributed to people at their homes given the difficulty they face in moving about in the midst of the pandemic.
Over 13 lakh people denied aid
The reality is that a large number of disabled people, even those based in the state capital, Chennai, are yet to receive the aid.The reasons range from endless paperwork demands and lack of clear guidelines.
Take the case of a visually impaired woman who shifted from Thoothukudi to Thiruvanmiyu iafter marriage. When she approached the local office of the District Differently Abled Welfare Office (DDAWO) she was told to apply for a new disability certificate at the DDAWO office in Tuticorin.
“Her brother approached the Tuticorin DDAWO officer on her behalf”, says S Namburajan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC). “The officer seized her NIDC card and gave her a letter. However, this letter was not accepted by the DDAWO Thiruvarur, which asked her to approach the hospital for a fresh card”>
TARATDAC says this is just one instance of the kind of harassment people with disabilities are facing when it comes to accessing the financial aid. In this particular instance, TARATDAC’s intervention enabled her to get back her NIDC.
We have written to the State Commissionerate for the Differently Abled as well as the State Disability Commissioner asking for suitable action to be taken to avoid unnecessary hardship for disabled people. We also want action to be taken against the DDAWO official. – S Namburajan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers
TARATDAC has also demanded that disability certificates be held valid across the state. They also want the process to be made hassle free.
“The DDAWO offices are located inside the Collector’s Office in most districts. A doctor should come there for certain periods during the week and issue the disability certificates after examine the person instead of making them run around”, adds Namburajan.
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