Monday, February 22, 2010

We need indepent commissioners for Disability and a minimum wage social security

Dear Friends,

I second the demand of United Voices for Disability Equality in Odisha with little additions.

What we require is an Independent Commissioner for disabilities, with a rank equal to secretary & be preferably from the disability sector! Also the amount of social secruity has to match with minimum wages for skilled workers looking at cost of living index in each state. The charity doles of 500, 700, 1500 do not help the person with disability live an independent life. We need to say clearly "Please stop playing politics here, we are a potential vote bank of 10.21 lakh and if we include our families, friends and wellwishers, this number could be four fold and can be devastating for the prospects of any political party in the ensuing elections!

Here is the news report on demands of "United Voices for Disability Equality"

Hike in aid for the disabled

BHUBANESWAR: The number of persons with disabilities is 12.21 lakh. But Orissa is yet to have a full-time and independent disability commissioner .

Differently-abled persons under the aegis of United Voices for Disability Equality (UVDE) today demanded filling up of the post before the ensuing Assembly session for immediate redressal of the problems of people with disabilities (PWDs) .

The office of the commissioner should be outside the State Secretariat building with barrier-free access, they demanded saying currently the PWDs are facing many problems even to reach the official concerned .

It would be better if the commissioner can be selected from among the differently-abled persons or parents of the disabled children so that the actual problems of the PWDs can be solved immediately, they said .

The forum, after a day-long deliberations today decided to give a memorandum to the Chief Minister, minister concerned, Opposition members and all MLAs tomorrow. “If the Government fails to make an announcement before the Assembly session then we would hold a protest before the Assembly,’’ they said .

The UVDE, consisting of 11 organisations from 21 districts, also decided that they would be forced to go for an agitational path further if the Government would not pay any heed to their genuine demands during the session, they said adding in 18 states across the country disability commissioners are working independently according to the PWD Act passed by Parliament in 1995 .

They told mediapersons that even when a disability commissioner incharge takes the burden here, he/she cannot function independently as he/ she also looks after the programmes of other departments .

Some UVDE members even said that though the ruling BJD manifesto had been mentioning about appointment of a disability commissioner for the last three elections, no initiative is taken yet .

“Not only this is a betrayal, but politically it means a lot to all our 10.21 lakh member community,’’ they said alleging that by not appointing a disability commissioner the Government is violating the human rights of the differently-abled people, which are guaranteed under the PWD Act .

Not only the appointment of the official, but Orissa is still providing a monetary benefit of Rs 200 a month to differently-abled persons as assistance and it is far less than in other states .

While Goa is giving Rs 1,500 and Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Rs 900, Maharashtra and Kerala are providing Rs 700 a month .

On the other hand, while Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand are giving Rs 600, newly-formed Jharkhand gives double the amount of what Orissa provides, they said .

“With 2.78 per cent of the State population, we always deserve a better deal,’’ they pointed out and urged the Government to acknowledge their rights first which are ensured by the Constitution .

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