Telangana High Court seeks state government stand on welfare of people with disabilities
Last week, Telangana High Court asked the state government if funds for people with disabilities are going to be allocated without delay. The court also wanted the government to take speedy action and reach out the disabled community who are struggling now due to Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
Coronavirus crisis and nation-wide lockdown has affected livelihood of millions of people from across India. The country’s disabled community is struggling to make ends meet. The central and state governments have been widely criticized for not taking effective measures to reach out to people. Last week, the Telangana High Court sought to the state government whether they are ready to allocate the Rs 10 crore separate fund as requested by the Director and Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. The top court also wanted to know what the state government has done for welfare of people with disabilities during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown period.
The state government, like often, has been inefficient in reaching out to people with disabilities during the pandemic as well. Advocates Pawan Kumar and Shiva Kumar filed a case on how the disability sector is being ignored by officials.
Justices Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and B Vijaysen Reddy instructed Advocate General BS Prasad to inform the government stand soon.
International, national as well as state laws focus on disability rights. But during the pandemic, no medical or emergency services were given to people with disabilities which is a violation of rights.
M Srinivasulu, President, Network of Persons with Disabilities Organization (NPWDO) has been associated closely with the disability sector in Telangana for past many years.
“The lockdown has been extended. The government is taking many days to submit a report or release funds for welfare of disabled people. The amount that has been generated now is not enough for the disability sector”, he says.
Disability rights groups have been working together to raise their demands. “Our lawyers are doing a great job. The High Court is passing rules in favor of the disabled community, but the state government remains insensitive”, says Srinivasulu.
According to reports, there are five lakh people with disabilities in Telangana who are from economically backward families. Seven lakh people hold disability certificates. Meanwhile, the Census points out that there are over 10 lakh people with disabilities in the state. But experts point out that the numbers are higher.
Disability rights groups are demanding for a minimum of 500 crore rupees to be allotted for the state’s disability community.
“There are many families who are solely dependent on their disabled family members who are bread-winners. The situation of Telangana’s disabled community is pathetic. They are vulnerable too during this time”, says Srinivasulu.
Disability rights experts are glad that the High Court has initiated speedy action, but also hope that more funds are allocated for welfare of disabled people without delay.
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