UN report lauds India's Rajasthan State for comprehensive policy for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, August 20 2012

JAIPUR: A United Nations report has lauded the state government for formulating a comprehensive state disability policy. In a report titled ‘Livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities’, the UN praised the Rajasthan Mission on Skill Development (RMoL) for including special provisions for persons with disabilities.

The report released on August 9 has been commissioned by the Planning Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It said the efforts and interventions taken by the RMoL are unique and can be replicated across the country.

“RMoL, currently, is at a learning stage as far as disability is concerned. With an appropriate blend of political will and the right bureaucratic support, it can become a good innovative model that could be replicated in other states of the country,” the report noted.

The study was undertaken by the UNDP to review the government livelihood schemes and document good practices from various government and non-government agencies in the area of livelihood of persons with disabilities. The report further stated that the state government has taken a comprehensive view of all the aspects of persons with disabilities employment and livelihood. The government also earned praise for a steady execution of the components mentioned in the programme.

“These are capital-intensive programmes. We have been able to put a proper mechanism to sustain our initiatives and some of these like providing computer education have yielded great results. These modules are at an early stage, but we hope that these will help people with disability lead a better life,” said Aditi Mehta, additional chief secretary, social justice and empowerment.

Rajasthan has been a pioneer state in providing unemployment allowance, pension and allocating seats for  persons with disabilities under technician apprenticeship. The pension and unemployment allowances provided are among the highest in the country. It is also among the very few states that have utilized the fund allocated by the National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation and nearly achieved its target of reaching out to beneficiaries.

However, the report also pointed out flaws in the execution of certain schemes. For instance, the eligibility criterion for pension to  persons with disabilities limits the benefits to only a handful of people. It states that a person with disability who is unable to earn and any of his /her family members aged 20 years and above are also incapable of earning can avail of the government pension of Rs 700 per month.

Source: The Times of India

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