Volume 2 Issue 16 - August 15, 2004

Government to notify welfare schemes for the disabled students by October

DNIS News Network - Welfare schemes for disabled students across the country are about to be provided by the Central government, nearly eight years after the passing of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act in 1995.

Delhi High Court received the news from the government as it was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer group Social Jurist. The PIL alleges that the centre and the Delhi government have not yet implemented welfare programmes for disabled students. The court expressed its concern over the government's inaction.

Citing a government letter, counsel Ashok Agarwal said that less than 1 per cent of disabled children in the country had access to education. According to Social Jurist, about 6,000 disabled children go to school in the capital but most of them drop out due to the lack of incentives from the government.

On February 19 last year, a division bench comprising of Chief Justice B.C. Patel and Justice B.D. Ahmed, issued notices to the centre and Delhi government on this issue. It was surprised to hear that the schemes under section 30 of the Act were yet to be formulated, even after such a long period. The matter will now be heard on November 10.

According to the Disabilities Act, the government has an obligation to frame welfare policies for students with disabilities including transport facilities, the removal of architectural barriers, the supply of books, uniforms and other study material, provision of scholarships and the setting up of systems to redress any grievances.

Other provisions in the act include providing scribes for blind students and restructuring the curriculum to allow students with hearing impairments to study only one language.

Additional Solicitor General, P.P. Malhotra informed the Court that the government was in the process of formulating the schemes under the Act and it will be notified in the official gazette within three months.

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