Shimla: Some good news for the disabled and disability rights activists. After sincere efforts of Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS), HP Chapter, the three major political parties of Himachal Pradesh – BJP, Congress and CPM included disability issues in their election manifesto for assembly elections – 2007. This small event has created a sort of history not only in India but in entire South Asia. Disability issues had always remained out of agenda for the political parties in India and neighbouring countries.
Ajai Srivastava, Chairman, SDRS, HP Chapter, described it as “beginning of a new era”. He added, “It would be easier now to make disabled-friendly environment in this Himalayan state. The inclusion of disability issues in the election manifestos is very significant as the party in power accepts its manifesto as policy document of the government in Himachal Pradesh. It is a welcome step, as our efforts yielded results and the hill state has taken the lead.” On the occasion of world disability day on December 3, SDRS had released a ‘People’s Manifesto for the Disabled’ which was the first of its kind in Asia.
The BJP has promised in its manifesto that its government will ensure reservation to persons with disability in jobs as per the provisions of PWD Act – 1995 and three percent of the budget of all poverty alleviation programmes / schemes will be earmarked for the disabled persons. As per the document, the BJP, will try to get reduced the interest rate of loan being provided to the disabled for education and self-employment and the conditions too will be made easy.
The Congress has promised implementation of all acts and provisions, pertaining to the empowerment of the persons with disabilities strictly. It has also stated that the allowance to the disabled persons would be increased from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per month.
The CPM has promised in its manifesto that it would make all efforts to formulate a state policy for the disabled and implementation of that to enable this section of the society to lead life with full honour and dignity. The left party has also said that it would try its best to provide jobs and other basic facilities to the persons with disabilities on priority basis.
According to Ajai Srivastava, his organisation will spare no efforts to make the issue of disability alive in the social and political agenda. He disclosed that Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, Chairperson, Disabled Peoples International, South Asia and a prominent disability rights activist of Pakistan has appreciated the efforts of SDRS to include the issues of disability in political agenda.
In a letter to Srivastava, Nizamani said that he would try to get the idea implemented in the ensuing elections in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh too and see that the issues of the disabled are included in the political agenda in these countries.
When I saw the picture of those young
children singing, I got emotional.
When we have perfect health, we never
understand, how far we are blessed. And we have a great moral obligation to help those people who are disabled in any form. I am very happy that
under the leadership of my good friend
Mr. Ajai Srivastava, all political
parties are joined with a renewed
dedication to help the disabled.
Indeed, the real worship of God is
serving the needy people.
Best wishes and God's blessings.
A. S. Mathew
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