The Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens has allocated a budget of Rs 35.5 million to 38 non-governmental organisations working to operate welfare programmes for differently-abled people across the country.

According to a notice published by the MoWCSC on its website earlier this week, the amount to be provided to organisations was fixed after their selection on merit basis as part of conditional grants for the fiscal 2021-22. The amount ranges from Rs 500,000 to four million depending on the service they offer to differently-abled persons.

"The amount has already been credited to the bank account of the concerned local levels, transfer the share for each organisation after signing a contract," it informed The grants are meant to increase the access of differently-abled persons to employment opportunities by providing them skills training and social security in line with the 'Procedure for Providing Conditional Grants Working in the Area of Differently-abled Persons, 2017'. The grants are provided for implementation of the annual programmes announced by the government through fiscal budget. The MoWCSC initiates the process of sanctioning the budget after the organisations interested in receiving the fund submit an application with its proposal of activities and programmes through the concerned local level.

"The grant shall be spent only for the purpose for which it is provided. The organisations receiving the grants shall operate programmes to deliver service to the target groups," the procedure says. It requires the local levels concerned to carry out monitoring and evaluation to ascertain whether the beneficiary organisations have utilised the grants. If any organisation is found to have misused the grant, the MoWCSC may blacklist them, prohibit the sale or transfer of its tangible and intangible assets and freeze bank accounts as further action.

According to the 2011 census, about two per cent (513,321) of the total population of the country is living with one or other kind of disability in Nepal. Of them, 280,086 are males and 233,235 are females. Around 80 per cent of the disabled people in the country are illiterate and 95 per cent of them are unemployed.

Despite various plans and programmes for the welfare of differently-abled persons, their living conditions continue to remain poor.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 6, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.