Saturday, October 30, 2010

State in India to survey disabled people

From The Times of India:

JAIPUR, India -- The state government has decided to soon embark on the first- of- its-kind disabled persons' survey. It will try to identify and estimate all categories of differently-abled people in the state so as to help them take benefits of various government schemes.

According to Aditi Mehta, principal secretary, department of social justice and empowerment, "The 2001 census records about 14.2 lakh differently-abled persons in the state. But only about 2.5 lakh of these are certified people with disabilities (PWDs) i.e. they have a certificate showing their disability. Therefore, a large number of government schemes for them remain unutilised. To help them derive benefits of these schemes the survey will be carried out."

Mehta says the certified PWDs mostly include those from the urban areas and rural people rarely figure in it. This is the first comprehensive survey of such people not only in the state but in the country. Kerala is the only other state that has done a survey of the orthopaedically-challenged.

The survey will be done in two stages. The first stage will involve identification of such persons for which the services of ANMs, Anganwadi workers and Asha workers will be taken. The field survey staff would be trained for the purpose and handed over questionnaires framed by experts.

"The state has recently identified seven categories of PWDs, including those with locomotor disability, polio, cerebral palsy, mental illness, autism, mental disability, visual disability etc.

"Many of these disabilities can be identified only by trained persons and for that we would be getting the help of doctors for training the field staff. After which a house to house survey will commence and we might take the help of NGOs too," she added.

After the identification of the PWDs, they will be brought to a camp for certification by doctors. "In fact, the rules for a medical board before the certification of a PWD is done has also been changed for the better. Instead of the three-member board that used to be there earlier, it has now been changed to a one expert doctor. Here proper tests will be done and the certification will be conducted," Mehta said.

In fact, the department is trying to ensure that the survey and identification is done soon so that the certificates can be given when the state government commences its "Prashshan Gaon Ki Aur" from November 10.

"The effort is a commitment of the state government towards ensuring that social empowerment of one and all takes place. It is in keeping with the promise of chief minister Ashok Gehlot that all benefits of government schemes will filter down to the last person in the state," Mehta said.