Ensure Covid-19 relief is granted to all eligible disabled people, says CCPD
In a significant order the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has directed the Centre to ensure that the ₹ 1,000 ex-gratia aid announced for disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic is given to all those eligible with disabilities. This is after a petition pointed out irregularities in the disbursal of aid in Rajasthan.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana Package, the government of India had announced an ex-gratia aid of ₹ 1,000 to beneficiaries with severe disabilities of the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme. The aim was to help them with additional financial resources to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
However, a petition filed by Hemant Bhai Goyal, National Vice-President, Divyang Adhikar Mahasangh in Rajasthan, alleged that the Ministry of Rural Development had violated two sections – 24(1) and 24(3)(c) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016.
“This ex-gratia amount was not being done on a regular basis and there were many violations”, says Goyal. “It should also be extended to everyone with benchmark disabilities and not just those covered under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme. Due to this less than 10% of disabled people in Rajasthan have received support during the pandemic”.
Goyal several letters highlighting this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawarchand Gehlot, but no action was taken. He decided to approach the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD).
The CCPD issued a notice to the Ministry of Rural Development to extend the pension to everyone with a disability of 40% and more. There was no response following which a hearing was held.
- Provision of community centres with a debate facilities for drinking water, sanitation and counselling.
- Support to women with disability regarding livelihood and raising children.
- Facilities for those who have been abandoned, including children.
- Caregiver allowance to persons with disabilities with high support needs.
Goyal is now appealing to disability rights activists and groups in other states to ensure these directions are implemented.
“I appeal to everyone to sustain the pressure through social media and other means so that the Prime Minister and other authorities ensure this is implemented”.
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