The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has written to all the local levels, directing them to implement the existing Act and Rules Related to Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In response to a request from the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizen, the MoFAGA said all the local governments were obliged to duly follow and implement the act and rules. In particular, the local levels have been told to adhere to the provisions stipulated in section 6 of the act. This section requires the local levels to prepare records along with the details of the persons with disabilities who reside permanently within their areas and update such records every year.

Similarly, the local levels shall forward the updated records to the MoWCSC and the Ministry of Social Development of the province concerned. The MoWCSC prepares integrated details of the persons with disabilities on the basis of the records received from the local levels.

According to the MoFAGA, such records serve as the main basis for identification of persons with disabilities who are entitled to government services and facilities.

"Those not included in the records maintained by the local levels are not eligible to enjoy such services and facilities," said an official at the MoFAGA.

Likewise, the rules framed in accordance with the act facilitates the persons with disabilities to exercise their constitutional and legal rights. The rules make it mandatory for the concerned authorities to provide them with assistive devices free of cost as per the nature and condition of their disability.

Assistive devices include stylus, slate, braille paper, braille memo, braille displayer, screen reading software, white cane, light indicator, object indicator, wheelchair, crutch, walker, special chair, prosthetic legs and hands, diaper air cushion, special commode, audio induction loop system, infrared system, frequency modulation system, communication access real time translation, automatic speech recognition, magnifying glass, air mattress and jelly cushion.

The assistive devices have been distributed to the beneficiaries included in the records through local levels. The rules also stipulate the provision of providing community support service to the persons with complete disability ('A' category) and severe disability ('B' category). Persons who fall under ' A' and 'B' categories have been provided with red and blue colour ID card holders respectively.

Persons with disabilities are entitled to 50 per cent discount in transport fare, scholarship for education with residential facility, skill development training, financial package, loan from banks and financial institutions for operating business, reservation in government offices, free health service, rehabilitation and social security allowance on the basis of their ID cards.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.