Aggrieved over “lack of action” by Delhi government on issues affecting people with disability, hundreds of disabled people plan to march towards the secretariat on October 6 to seek a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and put forward their demands.
Muralidharan, convenor of the Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch shared the plans for the march, which will be held under the leadership of 16 organisations, at a press conference Wednesday.
“We had great expectations when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power because it was the only mainstream party to talk about people with disabilities and address their issues in their manifesto. But we’re thoroughly disappointed that they haven’t taken a single action in this regard. All concerned organizations have written to the chief minister and the deputy chief minister time and again but we haven’t yet received a reply. We’ve therefore decided to organise this march,” said Muralidharan.
Dipendra Manocha from the National Association for the Blind said there was a “complete breakdown of the system” as applications had not been submitted to the government due to confusion over which department should deal with them.
Pointing out that certification was required for any kind of benefit or entitlement, Muralidharan said, “According to a report by the Department of Disability Affairs, of the 2,34,882 identified disabled persons in Delhi, only 51,038 (21.7 per cent) have received certificates. Also, under the Indira Gandhi Disability/Old Age Pension Scheme, they only get Rs 1,500 per month.”
The organisations have asked for setting up of regular camps for disbursement of certificates. They’ve also asked for the term “pension” to be replaced by “maintenance allowance” to avoid it making it sound like people with disabilities are unemployable.
They have also asked for it to be raised to at least 50 per cent of the minimum wage.