Get-hooked February 2, 2022
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment allocated ₹13,134 crore in the Union Budget 2022
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment responsible for welfare, social justice and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society, including people with disabilities have been allocated ₹13,134 crore in the Union Budget 2022. This is a 12% increase from the last fiscal year.
An amount of ₹11,922 crore has been allocated for the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and ₹1,212 crore for the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in the financial year 2022-23.
Tax Relief for Parents & Caregivers of Persons with Disability
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the conditions for availing tax benefits on the insurance policy for children with disabilities are going to be relaxed from now on. Till now, the expenses incurred on premium payments could be claimed as deductions under section 80DD of the Income Tax Act, only if the payout is made to a child with disability after the death of a parent or caregiver.
In her speech, Nirmala Sitharaman also stated “There could be situations where differently abled dependants may need payment of annuity or lump sum amount even during the lifetime of their parents/guardians. I propose to thus allow the payment of annuity and lump sum amount to the differently abled dependent during the lifetime of parents/guardians, i.e., on parents/ guardians attaining the age of sixty years.”
Did Budget 2022 ignore People with Disabilities?
As per the disability right activists, the disability sector still remains one of the most marginalized and neglected groups in India. Despite an increase in the fund allocated for the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, activists feel people with disabilities were largely overlooked in the Union Budget 2022.
“Budget didn’t increase disability pension amount. It’s too low. Nor does it mention anywhere specific needs of women with disabilities. RPD Act mandates specific allocations for women with disabilities. This section is totally neglected.” Shampa Sengupta, Disability & Gender Rights Activist.
“Like previous years the disability sector has been been ignored to a large extent in this year’s budget too. There’s no mention or allocation of funds for the Accessible India Campaign initiated by this Govt in their first tenure. Also no mention or initiative seen in implementing the RPWD Act 2016 in its full capacity even after six years after passing of the Act. Even after many requests, the central govt has not increased it’s share of disability pension to be distributed. Given the inflation and other macro economic factors, the funds allocated to the disability sector is very low and inadequate compared to the minimum standards of living at present.” Jomy John Joseph, Disability Rights Activist, Kerala.
“Rather than #BuildBackBetter through disability inclusive #SDGs, Finance Minister took the “divyang” to an utopian AmritKaal with no mention of accessibility, dignity & development.” Dr. Satendra Singh, Disability Rights Defender.
“Why is there no mention of the budgets allocated to the Accessible India Campaign? Every year you allocate some amount for the empowerment of the disabled, but how much is actually spend for their empowerment? As a citizen of this country, I would be happy to see the reports and implementation of the budgets.” Virali Modi, Disability Rights Activist.
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