New Delhi: Only six out of 36 states and Union Territories of the country have dedicated departments and district social welfare officers to look into issues of disabled persons, a parliamentary panel report has said.
The parliamentary committee report on the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities said the remaining states and UTs have, so far, not taken any action in this regard even after specific instructions from the Centre.
The six states that have dedicated departments/district social welfare officers to address the issues of persons with disabilities (PwDs) are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
It shows the indifference and insensitivity towards the welfare of persons with disabilities by state governments, the panel noted.
The parliamentary committee asked the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities to take up the issue of having dedicated disability-related departments and appointment of state disability commissioners with state governments at the highest level.
"In case, this effort also fails to yield any result, the appointment of State Disability Commissioners be made mandatory for amending the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016," the committee said in the report.
The committee also lamented that due to non-availability of specialists in designated hospitals/medical authorities in places where the disabled reside, they have to go to adjoining districts for obtaining disability certificates.
"A case also came to the notice of the committee wherein a disabled person who had been recommended by a member of parliament was instructed by the authorities concerned to go for medical examination to the other district where he could not go.
"The committee deprecates such callous attitude and apathy of the officials," the panel noted while recommending that all efforts be made to streamline the entire process/formalities in such a way that there is no harassment to PwDs.
The committee also desired that while organising Assistance to Disabled Person for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) camps, the work of issuing disability certificates to the PwDs of the region should be done in a campaign mode so that benefits of the scheme reach the needy without delay.
It also underlined an inordinate delay of 8-10 months in approving and providing tricycle, aids and appliances to the disabled persons even after having the recommendation by Members of Parliament.
When enquired about the reasons for such delays, the department said, "In some cases, there had been a delay in providing aids and assistive devices due to operational difficulties for conducting assessment of beneficiaries by the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) as it is mandatory to undertake such an assessment on individual basis to assess whether the beneficiary is fit to use such aids and appliances or not".
The department further assured the parliamentary committee that in future, such requests would be processed expeditiously and attended by ALIMCO.
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Updated Date: Jan 06, 2018 16:34:57 IST