Hike pension for Persons with Disabilities — Nagaland activists - Eastern Mirror
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Hike pension for Persons with Disabilities — Nagaland activists

By Our Reporter Updated: Mar 12, 2020 11:06 pm
Members of NSDF during a press conference in Dimapur on Thursday.

Our Reporter
Dimapur, March 12 (EMN):
Activists in Nagaland have demanded higher pension for persons with disabilities (PwD), apart from the INR 201 they are currently receiving through the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS), which is a central government scheme.

This was revealed in a press conference called by the members of Nagaland State Disability Forum (NSDF) in Dimapur on Thursday.

According to the president of NSDF, Kezhaleto Zecho, the state government is yet to provide the ‘state disability share’ in connection with the pension scheme. He added that the Sikkim government provides INR 1000; Meghalaya, INR 500; Mizoram, INR 300 per month.

Zecho said that NSDF was established in 2014, and has been taking up issue and rights of persons with disabilities with the state government.

Zecho explained that Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPWD) was passed in the parliament in December 2016 and came into force from April 2017; and as per the guidelines of the central government, every state and union territory must form its own laws or policy within six months; and in the case of Nagaland, the government had passed its rule on August 16, 2019: ‘Nagaland Rights of Person with Disabilities Rules 2019’. It was later notified on February 21, 2020.

The president urged the government to make sure that all the provisions in the RPWD Act and Nagaland Rights of Person with Disabilities Rules 2019 are implemented by all the government departments.

He acknowledged the state government for appointing a state commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, “who has knowledge in disability sector”. He requested the state government to provide adequate resources, proper budget allocation and enough manpower to run the office smoothly since the commissioner ‘plays the most important role for the wellbeing of the PwD community’.

He added that the next commissioner should be appointed according to the criteria laid down in the RPWD Act.

Zecho stated that 4% job reservation for PwD had been notified on August 13, 2019; and requested the government and the departments to follow the Act and make sure that the job reservation for persons with 40% benchmark disabilities and above are implemented.

He opined that 4% reservation should be implemented even in churches or village for deserving candidates.

Zecho added that the government of Nagaland  is yet to notify 5% reservation in poverty alleviation schemes. He however urged the government to do the same, ‘since it falls under RPWD Act’.

The treasurer of NSDF, Fatima Kera, lamented that most of the schools were not accessible to PwD students. Simply arranging a ramp wasn’t enough, she said, adding that teachers have to be sensitised about handling children with disabilities.

‘People with disabilities are stigmatised for so long and it affects their mentality as well perspective of life,’ she said, and requested the Education department to include sensitisation programmes for teachers so that they can take care of students with disabilities.

She also informed that according to RPWD Act, all the government schools are supposed to be well-equipped to handle students with disabilities; must have trained teachers; teaching and learning materials for disabled students; and the school facilities should be accessible to the disabled students. Kera however lamented that almost all the government schools in Nagaland have ‘built ramps and accessible toilet for namesake’.

The activists were of the view that to avail education in private sector for PwD students is quite expensive, especially for rural people. The forum requested the state government to focus in the education of PwD students while reasoning that implementing 4% job reservation would remain a futile exercise without imparting requisite education and skill.

Some of the institutions that provide inclusive education in Nagaland are: Christian Higher Secondary School Dimapur; St. Mary Higher Secondary School Dimapur; G Rio Higher Secondary School Kohima; Cherry Blosoom School Kohima; and Corner Stone Higher Secondary School, Zunheboto.

The NSDF also requested the state government to established DDRC in every district so that persons with disabilities can avail all necessary documentation for schemes and facilities provided by the government.

The forum acknowledged the NBCC and the ABAM for observing the third Sunday of November and the first Sunday of December respectively as ‘Disability Sunday’. It requested the churches to spread awareness and build facilities to make the places of worship accessible to persons with disabilities.

By Our Reporter Updated: Mar 12, 2020 11:06:52 pm