SRINAGAR: More than 3.6 Lakh disabled persons -under various categories and who are dependent on their families and society at large for sustenance receive just 7 percent of the total funds meant for the alleviation of their misery and financial support.
A large number of these have been disabled due to landmine explosions, shelling along the line of control and in militancy related violence.
As per available data, the number of disabled persons who have been directly hit by militancy stands at 55,549. The number of persons who have been disabled by accidents are 20,345, number of persons who have been disabled by landmine explosions are 14,456 and by other reasons are 13,455.
Despite having nearly 3.6 lakh disabled persons in the Valley only 1 lakh disabled people have been identified. The state appears to have either no plan or does not care about these persons.
Sources reveal that the schemes which have been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir are State Disability Pension Scheme, Rehabilitation of Militancy Victims, Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme.
The State disability scheme- administered by Social Welfare Department- is known as Integrated Social Security Scheme in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Under this scheme Rs. 400 is granted monthly to disabled persons. Shockingly, data reveal that there are less than thousand disabled persons registered under this scheme.
While as nearly 20 lakh rupees are disbursed by both the state and central governments under this scheme, the number of beneficiaries is not proportionate and commensurate with these funds. The amount released to these beneficiaries is less than 4 lakh rupees per month and less than 48 lakh rupees annually. Disaggregated, this means that the state receives annually 2 crore and 40 lakh rupees under this scheme but only 12 percent of money is given to the disabled persons.
The need is to minimize the impact of social damage for these disabled persons. This has long term effect on the society and on the disabled victims.
Under rehabilitation of militancy victims scheme, the number of disabled persons registered under the scheme is nearly 700, receiving a monthly honorarium of 750 rupees. According to documents, the state receives 2.65 crore under this scheme but only 7 percent of amount is given to the beneficiaries. Out of
55, 549 victims only 700 disabled persons are receiving the said amount.
The Central government implemented Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme in Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2011. Under this scheme the central government annually releases 3.67 crore for more than forty thousand beneficiaries but only 4000 people are registered under this scheme receiving a monthly honorium of 350 rupees. The state government spends 8.45 percent amount under this scheme.
Since the past two financial years, no provision has been made to register more disabled persons under these schemes as most disabled persons have little if any information regarding these schemes ;they also dont have information of how to apply for these kinds of schemes. The irony is that state government is least bothered about it and do not appear to care for the disabled. The total fund spent under various schemes is just 6 percent which is quite shocking.
The government has not even set up monitoring panels at district, village or state level to check the progress of these schemes. The state government also has made no provision for other facilities like bus concession fee, scholarships and other related facilities. Despite repeated phone calls, the Minster for Social welfare Ms Asiya Naqash could not be contacted for further details.
These shocking revelations suggest the level and intensity of apathy and indifference by the state government towards the most vulnerable section and segment of our society. It is largely because of our social structure with the family as the provider and care taker of individuals- that these individuals survive; not the meager amounts disbursed by the government and that too only to a few. Where is the rest of the money going? The answer is obvious: leakages (graft) and corruption may explain the balance (a huge amount) amount. Graft and corruption is common in the state but what is shocking is that this is being done towards the most vulnerable section of our society. This is not only shameful but also despicable. It is time then that the Government takes strict notice and action against these fraudulent and vile elements.
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