675 camps held in Maharashtra, giving welfare benefits worth 51.51 crore rupees to 87,000 Divyang Jan: Shri Thawarchand Gehlot

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Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Thawarchand Gehlot distributed assistive devices to Divyang Jan, at a distribution camp held in Pune today. The devices were distributed as a part of the‘Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) Scheme’.

Addressing the gathering, the Minister recalled the Honourable Prime Minister’s words that Divyang Jan, senior citizens and other such people the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is mandated to serve are those who are an integral part of human society. He recounted the PM saying that the needs of these people need to be adequately met in order for the society and nation to march forward. The Minister noted that while India has had a long tradition of taking care of the needy and the disadvantaged, a trend of apathy towards the poorer sections has emerged in recent decades. Observing that the Indian tradition is one of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, Shri Gehlot said that it is our responsibility to work towards alleviating the suffering of those in our community and society, and to expand opportunities for their growth and development.

The Minister said that it is in this spirit that the schemes of the Ministry have been designed and that they are being implemented very earnestly. He said that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has designed many schemes for the upliftment of the poor. The scheme to distribute assistive devices to Divyang Jan, he said, is one such scheme for the removal of poverty. The Minister spoke of the recently launched Vayoshree Yojana, a ‘Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category’. He said that the assistive devices provided under this scheme will help Senior Citizens to overcome their age-related physical impairment and lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on caregivers or other members of the family. The ambitious Scheme, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to benefit around 5.2 lakh senior citizens over a period of three years. The Minister said that under the scheme, the beneficiary will receive assistive devices costing around Rs. 7,500 free of cost. Shri Gehlot said that the assistive devices are of around seven types, comprising hearing aids, wheelchairs, tricycles, walkers, dentures and eye-glasses.

The Minister expressed satisfaction that under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the Ministry has accomplished historic achievements in the last four years, including the establishment of five Guinness World Records.

Shri Gehlot said that the camp being organized today was the 304th mega-camp, each such camp providing benefits worth more than 1 crore rupees to more than 1,000 citizens. He said that a total of 6,842 camps have been organized nationwide so far, providing benefits worth more than 500 crore rupees to more than 10.55 lakh people. Speaking of Maharashtra, the Minister said that 675 camps have been held in the state, giving welfare benefits worth 51.51 crore rupees to 87,000 beneficiaries. He said that 1,152 people are being provided 1,758 assistive devices worth 89.56 lakh rupees in the camp being held today, without any discrimination of any sort. Shri Gehlot noted that since the inception of the scheme in 1992, for a period of 22 years till 2014, only 57 camps have been organized, while more than 6,800 camps have been held in the last four years. He added that the data of benefits provided to beneficiaries are being maintained in a very transparent and systematic manner now.

Speaking of Sugamya Bharat, the Minister said that public places are being made accessible to Divyang Jan and senior citizens under the “Accessible India” scheme. He added that 100 buildings in each of 50 big cities have been selected and work begun in order to make them accessible. Shrhi Gehlot stated that 180 buildings in Maharashtra have been identified and work has begun to make 142 of these buildings accessible.

Speaking of motorized tricycle which is given to Divyang persons with more than 80% disability, the Minister said that a subsidy of Rs. 25,000 is being given by the Government towards providing the tricycle costing Rs. 37,000. He said that this has already been provided to around 2.5 lakh people.

Noting doctors’ opinion that the success rate due to provision of cochlear implants to children less than 5-6 years of age is 100%, the Minister said that the Government has been providing free cochlear implants to children, at a cost of Rs. 6 lakh per child. He said that 1,212 children have already been benefited under this scheme. He noted thatAli Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped [AYJNISHD(D)] in Mumbai is one of the leading institutions that undertake this service. Shri Gehlot said that these 1,200-odd children have begun to hear and majority of them have begun to speak as well.

The Minister said that the Government has been providing benefits for the welfare of totally blind Divyang Jan too, including for their education. He spoke of special walkers for blind people, which are fitted with sensors which alert the user to presence of nearby obstacles. He recounted the success of totally blind citizens, such as the three consecutive victories of the Indian team at the Blind Cricket World Cup. He said that this example shows the need for providing adequate opportunities for the flowering of the talent of Divyang Jan. He added that while the Government is taking steps in this regard, there is need for greater citizen participation as well.

The Minister stated that Government of India has come up with an Act which provides 4% reservation for Divyang Jan in government jobs; he appealed to state governments too to increase the share of reservation to 4%. The Minister conveyed his best wishes to all the people who received the assistive devices on the occasion, and expressed the hope that they are able to realize their dreams and aspirations as integral members of society.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Special Assistance, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Dilip Kamble; Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, Pune, Shri Anil Shirole and Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Amar Shankar Sable were among other dignitaries present on the occasion