Kathmandu, May 12
Four members of the National Assembly have drawn the attention of Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa and Minister of Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada for protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
A letter of attention submitted by the lawmakers to the Chairperson of the National Assembly Ganesh Prasad Timilsina today demanded that the government provide a monthly subsistence allowance to unemployed, senior and disabled citizens, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 3,000, depending on their disability. They also urged the government to ensure a special monthly allowance of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 for fully disabled or incapacitated persons who didn’t have family members, kin or a partner to take care of them.
Upper House lawmakers drawing the attention of ministers Thapa and Khatiwada were Prakash Pantha, Jitendra Narayan Dev, Badri Prasad Pandey and Anita Devkota. “We want the government to appoint at least one social welfare officer in each district to oversee the identification and classification of disabled persons to safeguard their rights and interests,” they said.
According to lawmakers, the government also needs to conduct additional welfare activities without being limited to the ones stipulated by the state policies. They also suggested the government to amend the existing act and rules on disabled persons by incorporating issues of education, health and social security. The parliamentarians asserted that such rules and laws should be consistent with the constitution and compatible with the international practices regarding people with disability.
“It is high time the government categorised disabled persons on the basis of their physical, mental and intellectual states. We demand the government to accord high priority to this pressing issue,” they said. Currently, the government has the provision for the distribution of four categories of identity cards to disabled persons. A person with complete disability (‘A’ category), severe disability (‘B’ category), moderate disability (‘C’ category) and general disability (‘D’ category) is provided with red, blue, yellow and white cards, respectively. Disabled persons holding red cards under the complete disabled category gets Rs 2,000, while blue card holders are entitled to Rs 600 per month.
Lawmakers stressed that the government needed to effectively implement the provisions of housing, education, health, skill training, employment and other facilities set forth in the existing laws and rules. “The PMO and the MoWCSW have to appoint an officer-level employee each, to carry out regular monitoring of the activities to be conducted by the government and non-governmental organisations for disabled persons,” they said.
According to the 2011 national census, two per cent (513,321) of the total population is living with one or other kind of disability.
A version of this article appears in print on May 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.