NHRC urges government not to curtail social security allowance

Kathmandu, May 23

The National Human Rights Commission today expressed serious concern about the government’s recent decision to discontinue social security allowance for blue card holding differently-abled persons and single women below 60 years of age.

Issuing a press release, the rights body warned the government against implementing the unpopular decision and urged it to keep up with the social security allowance being enjoyed by them. “At a time when the whole world, including Nepal has been badly impacted by the COV- ID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown, the decision to deprive the blue card holder differently-abled persons and women below 60 years of age will make them more vulnerable to novel coronavirus,” the NHRC said.

Many of the beneficiaries depend on social security allowance for their medical care. “The social security programme of the government has not only had positive impact on their economic and social fronts, but also helped reduce discriminatory treatment and violence against them to some extent. Instead of announcing more stimulus package for vulnerable groups, the decision to discontinue social security allowance will only aggravate the situation depriving them of the right to live a dignified life,” it warned.

The rights body said such a decision would also be contrary to the provisions articulated in Article 43 of the constitution.

It will further worsen the condition of needy persons. The NHRC urged the government to withdraw the decision immediately and ensure availability of medicines and other supportive materials for them.

Earlier, the Women and Social Committee of the House of Representatives, the main opposition Nepali Congress and various organisations, including National Federation of the Disabled- Nepal, had called on the government to withdraw the decision. Blue card holders — differently-abled persons and single women have been receiving a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,600, respectively.

The social security allowance was introduced in 1994.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 24, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.