Showing posts with label Disabled. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disabled. Show all posts

Friday, April 10, 2009

Should Rehabilitation Services come to stand still when Model Code of Conduct is in force ?

Dear Friends,

This is election time and the Election Commission of India has enforced the Model Code of Conduct. We have seen in the immediate past that in the name of Model Code of Conduct, a few Govt. Departments literally refuse to undertake even the routine activities that would not otherwise come under the purview of the the Model Code of Conduct more so when any of such activities are not related to promoting or giving benefit to any political party. We had seen similar stance taken by a senior Govt. Official in Tamil Nadu in refusing to restore the extra time facility in the government exams to Visually Impaired students.

We are faced with another typical problem that many of your organisations might be facing. This is regarding Grant in aid being received by many Organisation in Disability Sector for their projects from the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment under the Ministry's regular scheme titled "Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme for the Persons with Disabilities"

This scheme is not a special or discretionary grant and a large number of education & rehabilitation services are run with these grants by NGOs in absence of any Govt. owned set up to run similar programmes. Thus this becomes a regular service to the community which can't and should not get affected due to Model Code of Conduct.

By any prudence, the educational, vocational and rehabilitation services to the persons with disabilities can't come to stand still because there is a model code of conduct in force! Thus this is the right time that the issue is taken up with the appropriate authority i.e. the Chief Election Commission of India and in the States if such issues are being faced by other NGOs also in the other parts of the Country.

AICB, has initiated such an exercise and I would appeal all those who are affected by similar dilemma, to take recourse to similar exercise to restore this right to the persons with disabilities that they work with. Appended below is the appeal letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner by All India Confederation of the Blind which can be taken as reference point by the affected organisations.

Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Appeal Letter

Ref:-AICB/G-1/2009 16th March, 2009

The Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner,
Government of India ,
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road ,
New Delhi-110001.

Sub:- Non-release of Government-grant-in-aid to disability NGO’s—Code of Conduct Regulation—relief solicited.


1) We wish to bring to your kind notice that disability NGO’s like ours are faced with a genuine and serious problem of non- receipt of funds which has arisen, albeit in advertently , due to the moral Code of Conduct currently in force.

2) The specific problem is explained below and we write to request you to take into consideration our special situation and grant us necessary relief.
3) Disability NGO’s receive grant-in-aid for their projects from the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment under that Ministry’s regular Scheme titled “Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme for the Persons with Disability”. These are not special or discretionary grants, but are offered on a regular basis and cover such crucial items as payment of staff salaries, meeting the cost of board and lodging for disabled children/adults, Braille books, equipments etc. This is an on-going Scheme.

4) Unfortunately, the Ministry releases grants under the Scheme only towards the end of February/March for covering annual expenses, as per specified sealings. We are, now, given to understand that the Ministry cannot even process grant-in-aid Cases, let alone sanction/release grants under the said Scheme even for on-going projects, at this juncture, since the moral Code of Conduct has come into force, subsequent to the announcement of Lok Sabha Elections. This seriously hurts the functioning of NGO’s like ours, since it makes extremely difficult for us to continue our welfare activities for want of funds. Hence, we request you to come to our rescue.

5) We do realize that the Code of Conduct, too, thus prohibit release of funds to preempt the possibility of giving rise to malpractices. At the same time, the interests of disabled children/adults we serve in accordance with the mandate of a welfare State cannot also be compromised/sacrificed.

6) In view of the foregoing, it is our humble submission that the concerned Ministry may be allowed to process related Cases and release grant-in-aid this month itself(before the close of the financial year) on the basis of the following formula:

a) No new projects may be assisted while the Code is on;
b) However, grant-in-aid may be allowed to be released for on-going activities, which have been assisted by the Ministry for preceding three years;
c) The grant to be released may be the same as released during the preceding year i.e. 2007-2008;
d) Any under-payment/over payment may be adjusted in the coming year.

We need hardly add that the Election Commission of India would earn the gratitude of thousands of disabled children/adults by acceding to our above request which would save them from untold hardships, which might otherwise result from possible break-down of services.

Thanking you and hoping to a favorable response.

Yours truly,