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Meira urges states to appoint full-time commissioners for disabled

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar today urged State Chief Ministers to appoint full-time Commissioners for ''Persons with Disabilities'' with adequate staff and create necessary infrastructure for their welfare and development.

Addressing the 5th National Meeting of State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities here today, Ms Kumar said funds provided by her Ministry under the National Programme for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities Scheme (NPRPD) for creation of Resource Centres at state, district and block level should be utilised.

She promised her Ministry's all possible support in creating barrier-free environment for disabled persons in states and UTs. On utilisation of three per cent reservation in jobs for the disabled, the Minister said, ''I consider it a matter of concern that some of the states are yet to identify the jobs.'' She suggested to the states to adopt the list notified by the Central Government.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan sought the cooperation of the states in implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act. She said, her Ministry has made a conscious decision to make funds available to all the states in a fair manner.

Social Justice and Empowerment Secretary Sarita Prasad said amendment to PWD Act had become necessary and urged the states to send their suggestions in this regard within 8 weeks. She also called upon the states to send inspection report of NGOs in time to facilitate release of funds to them. ''The delay adversely affects the functioning and participation of NGOs in development programmes''she added.

Earlier making a presentation, the Chief Commissioner for Disabilities, Dr Manoj Kumar said all states had constituted the State Coordination Committees and State Executive Committees under the Persons with Disability Act, 1995 which provides education, employment, creation of barrier-free environment, social security etc. However, regular meetings of these committees are not held. Eight states have appointed full-time Commissioners.

These are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Nineteen States have constituted Medical Boards in each district to facilitate issue of disability certificates.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has identified more than 1600 jobs, including in the IAS and other Central Services for the disabled. Eleven States and three UTs have amended building by laws or issued instruction for creating a barrier free environment.

State Commissioners for Disabilities from 21 States and 3 UTs are participating in the two-day Meeting to review the implementation of PWD Act. Central apex organisations viz Rehabilitation Council of India, National Trust, National handicapped Finance Development Corporation and National Institutes for different disabilities are also participating.

UNI NAZ HS GC1842

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