D.N.I.S. News Network - With the day for the announcement of Union Budget 2006-2007 approaching, disability sector has submitted a set of recommendations for consideration by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to address the issue of neglect of disabled people when it comes to macro planning and resource allocation.
The letter sent by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), focuses on the demand for announcing incentives, mandated under The Disability Act 1995, for promoting employment of disabled people in the private/corporate sector.
According to an estimate, less than one per cent of the disabled people are employed. N.C.P.E.D.P. had conducted a study in 1999, which revealed that the average rate of employment in the private sector was only 0.28 per cent and in the multinational companies, it was a mere 0.05 per cent! In a nation-wide survey that was conducted recently, it was found out that 60 per cent of the total Public Limited Companies have not employed a single disabled person. National Sample Survey Organisation figures reveal that the rate of unemployment of disabled people in India is 74 per cent where as that of non-disabled population is only 45 per cent.
The letter has also sought a meeting with the Finance Minister, that a group of senior leaders representing different disabilities can share the concerns of the disability sector vis-à-vis the Union Budget 2006-2007.
Stressing on the need of incentives to promote employment opportunities in the private sector, the letter reads: “You would agree that in the era of liberalisation, it is the corporate sector which is generating jobs for the youth. We strongly feel that policies and rhetoric about concern for the vulnerable sections like that of disabled people can be translated into action only when they are backed by adequate resource and financial allocation. We have a lot of hope in the U.P.A. Government and believe that the issues of people with disability will not go unaddressed this year. We were deeply disappointed when not a word on disability was mentioned in the Union Budget of 2005-2006.”
Listed below are the recommendations that have been made for the Union Budget 2007-2007:
· Announce ‘Incentives’ for the corporate to encourage employment of the disabled people in the private sector, as mandated under Section 41 of The Disability Act, 1995.
· Announce a scheme for payment of an ‘Unemployment Allowance’ to persons with disabilities registered with a Special Employment Exchange for more than two years and who could not be placed in any gainful occupation, as mandated under Section 68 of The Disability Act, 1995.
· Increase the interest rate on the deposits of the disabled people and their parents, as is being done for senior citizens.
· Issue mandatory directions to all public and private sector banks to make their banking system disabled friendly with easy loans on lower interest rates, making forms available in Braille, making bank premises and Accessible Teller Machines (ATMs) accessible, and training staff on issues of disabled customers/visitors.
· Banking sector should announce a National Policy to recruit disabled staff, make their services disabled friendly and extend their facilities to persons with mental disabilities e.g. opening of joint accounts with parent/guardian, etc.
· Lower eligibility and margin money for educational loans to disabled students as is done in the case of SC/ST students.
· Exempt Excise Duty on cars purchased by disabled people, as it is the only mode of transportation for them, hence, a necessity and not a luxury.
· Revise the list of Aids and Appliances on which concessions/exemption of custom duty is applicable.
· Provide initiatives to attract multinational companies producing disability goods, so that disabled people in India are able to benefit from good quality/ high functioning equipments, which will have direct implication on their quality of life.
4. Social Security:
· Announce a scheme for ‘social security’ to people with severe mental and neurological disabilities, who may not be able to join the workforce due to severity of their disability.
· Announce ‘Disability’ as a priority area for development of the Union Budget 2006-2007.
· As per recommendation of the 10th Plan, introduce a Component Plan for the Disabled in the budget of all the concerned ministries/departments to ensure regular flow of funds for schemes/programmes for empowerment the disabled.
· Announce incentives to private builders for constructing disabled friendly housing, etc.
· Earmark a certain percentage of the budget for accessible rural housing.
· Utilise resources from’ National Fund for the Disabled’ for making the public buildings and public transport accessible for disabled people.
· Earmark national resources for advanced research in disability related matters.
· Ensure that all monies allocated for Disability are spent.