The loss or impairment of a limb or deformity in one’s physical or mental capability is the worst that can happen to a person, whether it is because of nature’s foul play or as a result of an unexpected unfortunate accident.
As per the Constitution, Relief to the Disabled is a State subject. In practise, the Central Government also has a major role to play in this field.
2. Grants-in-Aid Schemes
Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for the Disabled
Under this scheme, financial assistance is given to voluntary organizations on 90 per cent basis for providing education training and rehabilitation facilities to disabled persons.
Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitment of AIDS/Appliances
Under the scheme, aids and appliances costing from Rs. 50 to Rs. 6,000 are provided free of cost if the monthly income of the beneficiary is up to Rs. 5000 and at 50 per cent of the cost, if the monthly income is between Rs. 5001 and Rs. 8000.
Assistance to voluntary organizations for Rehabilitation of Leprosy-Cured persons
This scheme covers providing assistance to voluntary organizations making for persons cured of leprosy. Assistance up to 90% is given to voluntary organizations.
Assistance to Voluntary organizations for Manpower development in cerebral palsy and Mental retardation
Assistance up to hundred per cent of expenditure for recurring and non-recurring items is given.
Establishment and development of special schools
The scheme envisages assistance to the NGOs up to the extent of 90% for establishment and upgradation of special schools in the 4 major disability areas-orthopaedic, hearing and speech, visual and mentally retarded.
3. Employment of Handicapped
The basic objective of the scheme is to help the disabled persons in getting gainful employment either through special cells in normal employment exchanges or special employment exchanges located throughout the country. At present there are 39 special cells and 51 special employment exchanges.
4. Bilateral Agreements
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment operates bilateral agreements entered into by the Government of India with Government of Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These agreements envisage duty-free entry into India of donated supplies for relief and rehabilitation of the poor and needy.
5. National Award
On 3 December, each year on the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons, National Awards are given by the President of India to:
(i) The best employer of the people with disabilities
(ii) The best disabled employed and self-employed.
(iii) The best individual wording for the welfare of people with disabilities.
(iv) The best institution working for the welfare of people disabilities.
(v) Placement officers
Two more categories of awards which are introduced in 1998 are: (a) Outstanding creative individual with disabilities; (b) Outstanding work in the creation of barrier -free environment for people with disabilities.
6. National Institutes
In consonance with the policy of providing a complete package of welfare services to the physically and mentally disabled individuals and group and in order to effectively deal with the multi-dimensional problems of the disabled population, the following national institutes have been set up in each major area of disability:
(i) National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun started on January 1950. It was started as a Training Centre for the Blind and other units were added later on.
(ii) National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped (NIOH) was established in 1978 at Calcutta, under Ministry of Welfare, Government of India.
(iii) National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped (NIMH) was set up at Hyderabad in 1984 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Welfare, Government of India.
(iv) Ali Yavar Jung National institute for the Hearing Handicapped was established on August 9, 1983 in Mumbai. Late Governor of Maharastra Ali Yavar Jung was instrumental in its establishment.
7. Science and Technology Project in Mission Mode on Application of Technology for the Welfare and Rehabilitation of Handicapped.
The project was launched by Government of India in 1988 with an aim to provide different types of aids and appliances and other benefits of technology to the disabled persons in the country at reasonable costs and in shortest possible time. The project encompasses all types of disabilities and different aspects of technology.
Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India, Kanpur
It is registered under the Companies Act, 1956, has been functioning from 1976 to develop, manufacture and market aids and appliances for the disabled.
National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation
It was registered in January, 1997, provides opportunities for skill development and loan assistance on easy term to the disabled persons to set up self-employment ventures.
Rehabilitation Council of India
The Government of India has set up the Rehabilitation Council of India to enforce uniform standards in training of professionals in the field of rehabilitation of the disabled, maintenance of Central Rehabilitation Register and other connected matters. The Council was re-constituted in June 1998.
District Rehabilitation Centre Scheme
To emphasize much rehabilitation work in rural areas, the Ministry of Welfare started the District Rehabilitation Centre Scheme in 1983.
National Information Centre on Disability and Rehabilitation
Since awareness and access of information play a major role in rehabilitation the Ministry of welfare has set up a National Informatics Centre on Disability and Rehabilitation (NIDCR).
To ensure social justice to the disabled on equitahle terms, the Government of India enacted in 1995 a comprehensive legislation viz., the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act empowers the disabled with a right to demand for an enabling environment wherein they can enjoy protection of rights, equal opportunities and full participation in various developmental activities of the country.
8. Strategy of Five-Year Plan
The Five-Plan is committed to prepare a National Charter for Social Justice to ensure all-round development of the disadvantaged sections of the society. Therefore, approach to social welfare in Five-Year Plan is distinct from the earlier Plans as it proposes to adopt the following threefold strategy, specific to each individual group viz. Empowering the Persons with Disabilities; Reforming the Social Deviants and Caring for the Other Disadvantages.
To prepare a National Charter for Social Justice for ensuring all around development of the disadvantaged section of the society
To adopt a three-fold strategy of-Empowering the Persons with Disabilities, Reforming the Social Deviants; and Caring the Other Disadvantaged through various Preventive, Curative and Rehabilitative and Developmental Policies and Programmes.