Gujarat may soon get a national institute or a center that will provide research and education for people with different abilities. This was announced by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot at a recent workshop on ‘Accessible India campaign’ held in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Gehlot was requested by Gujarat Social Justice and Empowerment minister Ramanlal Vora to facilitate the first such national institute for people of differently-abled which will have research and also boarding facility for its students in Gujarat.
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“We are ready to provide all the support from the ministry and the Central government in terms of establishing a national level institute for the disabled in Gujarat as requested by Ramanlal Vora. We are also in the midst of finalising a programme in Vadodara in the near future, where disability aids will be distributed to close to 5500 people and we are hoping to get Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel and PM Narendra Modi to attend this programme,” said Gehlot.
He also added that steps are being taken to equip 50 cities in India and make them more differently-abled friendly under the Sugamya Bharat Yojana which also include Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat in Gujarat. In the first phase, 100 buildings will be identified in each city where disabled friendly ramps, lifts, signals for blind, sign language aids and communications in railway stations, airports, bus stands, buses will be put into place.
Speaking at the workshop, Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel said, “A physically disabled person whom I met recently in Junagadh told me to help him get his disability certificate renewed. That is when I thought why should it be renewed, he should get it for life. The next day, I decided that certificate of disability should be given for life… Along with that ST passes will also be made permanent for disabled people in Gujarat to avail every kind of bus facility.
“The state government has hiked the financial assistance to buy disability aids from Rs 6000 to Rs 10,000 and while the amount for wedding of a physically disabled person was Rs 20,000, we have hiked it to Rs 50,000 for each person if both are physically challenged. We have also hiked the medical cost assistance of polio-affected people for operations from Rs 3500 to Rs 10,000.
“While all this was limited by a cap on income of the person, now everyone with disability certificate don’t need an income certificate and will be avail these schemes. Which means that you don’t need to visit government offices for this and do not need to get an income certificate. I have instructed officials that in Zilla and Taluka level, timely camps should be conducted get assistance at their doorstep so that they don’t have to move around and seek one. Since we have close to 750 odd ITI’s in state, to train more disabled people, we can also flag a special ITI for physically disabled students.”
The workshop also saw MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment -Krishan Pal Gurjar announce that the Central government is soon set to issue a universal ID card for differently-abled people which will be valid across the country. It will be initially rolled out in 11 states including Gujarat. The event was also attended by Mukesh Jain, Joint Secretary, DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, GoI, Vinod Aggarwal, Secretary, DEPwD, MSJE, Deepak C. Mehta, Chairman- FICCI National Committee on Chemicals, Gujarat Chief Secretary GR Aloria and Additional chief secretary (social justice & empowerment dept) MS Dagur.