IMPHAL July 15: Union minister of social justice and empowerment Mukul Wasnik emphasised the need to create more awareness about the various central schemes related to drug abuse and rehabilitation, welfare for senior citizens and persons with disabilities being implemented in the state.
Talking to media persons on the sideline of a review meeting held at Classic Hotel today, the union minister stated that the number of initiatives which the state have taken up in this regard were reviewed .
“We still have to do much more. There is the need to have more capacity building programs, workshops and training for various officers. The weak spots have been identified and steps will be taken to redress these issues”, he said.
The minister also stressed on the need to make available disability certificates to beneficiaries in a more simplified and decentralized manner so that the disabled persons can get the certificates easily without waiting for long periods.
He further stated that the commissioner of the state social welfare department has been intimated to interact with her counterparts in the health department and moreover with the National Institute of Orthopedically Handicapped (NIOH) centre at Kolkotta to revise the resources available there.
The union minister along with his secretary had an interactive review session with officials of the social welfare department and inquired about the number of pending cases, enquiries from the disabled persons to the commission and the number of cases that have been redressed so far, and whether the cases have been taken up in a systematic manner.
Replying to the queries, director social welfare G Satyabati at first replied that there has been a lone complaint to the commission by a disabled person pertaining to promotion norms and a show cause notice has been sent to the authorities concerned as remedial action.
The status of the disabled beneficiaries on scholarship and financial assistance was also deliberated. It was learnt that there are about 13,470 persons living with disabilities in the state and amongst them 387 have been given financial assistance under different schemes while another 3000 persons have been given economic assistance through scholarships.
Surprisingly, the director could not answer by herself when questioned on what amount is provided to a disabled person in a month as per the benefit scheme.
All in all, the visiting team contended that the state authorities need to invoke the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 effectively and the commission should be more competent and assertive in addressing the needs of the disabled.
After the conclusion of the review meeting in the evening, the union minister later met MPCC president Gaikhangam at Congress Bhawan.
Wasnik also had a brief interaction with the media. At the meet, he said that his visit was a routine one to review the implementation of central schemes and to bridge the gaps if there are any, and further that the relevant issues can be addressed and the central welfare programs can be implemented effectively.
Answering to queries from media regarding the effectiveness of the PWD Act, 1995, he said that in order to make the Act more disabled friendly, steps have been initiated so that the Act can comply to the norms laid down by the United Nations Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities. In this regard, a committee has also been set up and the reports and recommendations of the committee will be sent to the instituted central coordinating committee as well as the Union ministry to take the final decision.
Wasnik is scheduled to meet the Chief Minister tonight and will leave Imphal tomorrow after visiting the state run blind school and the deaf and mute school.