Kerala’s ‘Kaivalya’ project to help disabled people start business unlikely to take off soon
‘Kaivalya’ project initiated by Kerala government aims to provide funds to disabled people to start their own businesses. Over 7000 applications have been given, but only a handful have received the benefits. Now, officials are stating that the state is undergoing financial crunch due to lockdown. Hence, funds for the project cannot be relieved any time soon. Applicants for ‘Kaivalya’ are asking for answers from the state government.
The government of Kerala had recently received a lot of praise for their exceptional and unique way of battling COVID-19 due to which the curve was flattened in the state. Similarly, the Social Justice Department of the state that works for welfare of disabled people have also launched many projects. But the lack of implementing ‘Kaivalya’ project has made the disabled community disappointed. The project under which an amount will be provided to disabled beneficiaries to start their own business or ventures, ‘Kaivalya’ never took off. With the state government under huge financial crisis, authorities are now pointing out that ‘Kaivalya’ cannot be initiated any time soon.
A project that never fully took off
Soon after the state ruling CPI(M) government came into power was when ‘Kaivalya’ project was introduced. The main objective was to enable disabled people to be self-reliant by starting their own businesses. An amount would be provided to them so that they can start businesses to earn their own living. It has been over three years since it was introduced, but ‘Kaivalya’ never took off. Over 7000 people applied for it. But only very few received it.
Babu, a wheelchair user from Kannur says, “I applied for ‘Kaivalya’ in the year 2017. Till now, I have not received it and I still do not know the reason why they have blocked my application. Recently when I enquired they said that the scheme is provided according to seniority. I’am 50 years old. A 30 year old and another person younger than me has already received it from the same district. So on what basis does seniority count?”, he asks. Babu further adds, “I have been knocking doors of officials, especially of the employment exchange. But they do not give any favorable answers”.
Currently, 7065 applications have been blocked. Only 1117 people have got funds to go ahead with the project. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, officials have stated that they are helpless and cannot relieve any funds due to the state government’s financial crunch.
The need for implementation of ‘Kaivalya’ project
The government stated that over Rs 2.10 crore has been set aside for ‘Kaivalya’ in the year 2019-20.
Since most of the disabled people rely on their families for financial aid, the lockdown has added to pressure of families too as many have lost their jobs. Those like Babu, who are unable to protest and be at offices physically are going through a tougher time.
Earlier this week Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation received a letter from the state government saying that due to lack of funds, ‘Kaivalya’ cannot take off soon.
“Now they have the Coronavirus crisis to blame it on. But beneficiaries of ‘Kaivalya’ never got the funds allotted even before that. It has been over two years since many disabled people are struggling to get their rights. Kerala’s social justice department must take care of this. Only a handful of people in Pathanamthitta and Idukki have received the benefits”, says Rajeev.
He also points out that there are many such projects for people with disabilities that never took off in the state. “It is clear that the government had funds after last budget. Why are needs and requirements of disabled people not given any attention?”, asks Rajeev.
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