They need empathy
On Monday the government announced the institution of ‘JK Govt Scholarship Scheme for Differently Abled Students’.
Under the scheme scholarship of Rs1 lakh each will be awarded every year to a meritorious specially-abled boy and girl student on ‘International Day for Disabled Persons’ being observed annually on December 3.
The main objective of the scholarship to the students with special needs is to assist and encourage them to study as well as acquire technical/professional/vocational training so as to enable them to earn a dignified living and to become useful members of society.
Surprisingly, the move has been initiated by a non-elected government as they felt that the entire lot of the population which is facing one or other physical challenge needs to be encouraged as the past governments in the state has so far failed to take such an initiative.
December 3, the day to mark the day for the physically challenged is usually observed in the form of an event and there is less sensitization to fix goals for a year and achieve the target to make persons with disabilities feel socially secure.
The state’s population which is faced is physical disabilities is mammoth. As per census 2011 JK has around 361000 persons with disabilities, but various researches have put that number to be near six lakhs out of which 120000 are orthopaedic disable persons and around 90000 persons who face mild to severe types of mental illness disabilities.
Orthopaedic disabilities are increasing due to the armed conflict and political disturbances. Blindness is also rated high in the state. As per census 2011 around 68000 persons with blindness have been recorded in JK. Also 92777 persons in JK have speech and hearing disabilities.
The numbers being so huge the governments in JK have failed to address this grave issue. The persons with disabilities face immense challenges and they do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes vital areas like transportation, employment, education as well as social and political participation.
The Government’s here have so far failed miserably on including this section of the population in the mainstream by providing for their needs and requirements. The schemes that are in place are archaic in nature and these need to be changed immediately.
Providing social security pension of around 400 Rs to many persons with disabilities per month under Social Security Scheme is nothing but a blunt joke with this section of the society.
What we need primarily is to understand the situation first and then roll out concrete policy which includes short term as well as long term measures to provide benefit for this section.
Providing a greater participation in education and skill learning can be one such option that can do wonders. Starships and other financial incentives can also help but as long a long term policy is not put into place, things will not change for the good.