Srinagar, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday suggested setting up of Self Help Groups (SHGs) by Physically challenged persons so that they are involved in various economic and developmental activities of the Government. She also asked for covering them under various developmental schemes of the Government particularly MGNREGA to make them socially self-reliant and economically independent.
The Chief Minister made these suggestions while chairing a joint meeting of officers of Social Welfare Department and representatives of Physically Challenged persons here today.
Minister for Social Welfare, Sajad Ghani Lone and Minister of State for Social Welfare, Asiea Naqash were present in the meeting.
Mehbooba Mufti said that time has come when the societal attitude about persons with disabilities needs to be changed and an atmosphere based on equal opportunities and challenges be created for them so that they can compete on a level playing field. She said her Government has decided to start the process of deconstructing the negative thinking about these persons and many big steps are being conceived which would give such persons a major relief.
The Chief Minister also suggested adding facilities like ramps, rest rooms and special counters for disabled and other such conveniences at the offices, public places, banks, hospitals and major buildings so that people with disabilities don’t face any problems and their accessibility in these areas is made hassle free.
The Chief Minister also directed the Women’s Development Corporation and SC/ST/OBC Corporation to clear the cases of credit facilities to physically challenged persons without any hassle and problem.
The meeting was informed that the Department of Social Welfare is working on a Disability Policy which would soon be discussed with the stakeholders. Also the draft of State’s own Disabilities Act is almost ready which would soon be finalized.
The meeting also decided to constitute an administrative committee to provide an interfacing platform between persons with disabilities and the Government and to redress the concerning issues periodically. The meeting also decided to double the issuance of motorised scooties in the State to the physically challenged persons and exploring the possibility of bringing them under the inclusion category for various benefits under NFSA.
The meeting also decided to adopt online mode of issuance of disability certificate to check misuse and arrest fake claimants. It also decided to go for empanelment and accountability of NGOs in whose favour grants are released by the Government.
Till date Rs. 8.5 crore were disbursed among 471 physically challenged women as loans by the Women’s Development Corporation and Rs. 6.00 crore among 500 physically challenged persons by the J&K SC/ST/OBC Development Corporation, the meeting was told.
Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas; Secretary, Social Welfare, Sajad Ahmad Khan; Director Social Welfare, Kashmir, Hashmat Ali Yatoo; Director Social Welfare, Jammu, Veer Ji Hangloo; Managing Director, Women’s Development Corporation, Naheed Soz and other officers besides representatives of physically challenged persons were present in the meeting.