Commission to decide on other backward classes for reservation: Min

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) Minister of state for Social Justice and Empowerment Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan today said the Government has constituted a Commission to consider the proposal for reservation for the economically Backward Classes not covered by the existing reservation policy.

The Commission consisting of a Chairperson, a Member and a Member Secretary will elicit the views of state ggovernments/UTs and other Commissions on the subject and suggest criteria for identification of economically backward classes, she said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

It will also recommend the welfare measures and quantum of reservation in education and Government Employment in consultation with the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities and suggest the necessary constitutional, legal and administrative modalities as required for the implementation of their recommendations.

In reply to another question, the Minister said there are 2.19 crore persons with disabilities in India who constitute 2.13 per cent of the total population.

The mentally retarded persons are 22.64 lakhs and constitute approximately 0.23 per cent of the total population in the country, as per the Census 2001, She informed that the physical, social and psychological empowerment of persons with disabilities is promoted through Deendayal Disabled rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) and Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase and Fitting of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) Scheme.

She said the Government has been promoting the self-employment of persons with disabilities by providing vocational training and loan on concessional rates through National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC).

The seven National Institutes also take up programmes for empowerment of persons with disabilities through their outreach programmes.

She also said her ministry is implementing a plan scheme under which financial assistance upto 90 per cent of the project cost is provided to NGOs for establishing and maintaining old age homes, day care centres and mobile medicare units.

She said under the scheme 'Integrated Programme for Older Persons' non-institutional services to older persons will also be provided.

The government is also offering various other benefits like old age pension, higher threshold limit of exemption under Income Tax, higher rates of interest on saving schemes of senior citizens, exclusive Health Insurance Schemes through Public Sector Insurance Companies for senior citizens, travel concessions.

Further, the Government has recently enacted the maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 for providing need-based maintenance and better healthcare facilities to the senior citizens, setting up of old age homes in every district of the country and for institutionalization of the mechanism for protection of life and property of the senior citizens, she said.

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