The government is set to construct and operate disability villages in partnership with the provinces.

A procedure recently developed by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has paved the way for both the levels of government to jointly work in the interest of differently-abled persons.

The 'Disability Village (Apangata Gram) Construction and Operation Procedure' envisages provisions of rehabilitation, skill development, education, health, employment and entertainment for differetlyabled persons through the disability village.

The procedure requires the MoWCSC to inform in writing to the Ministry of Social Development at the provinces for construction and operation of disability village. "Once the MoSC receives written information from the MoWCSC, the former shall identify and select an appropriate location and information thereof along with a Detailed Project Report and multi-year investment commitment," it says. After completion of preliminary requirements, the MoWCSC enters into an agreement with the province concerned.

However, the procedure has not indicated the estimated budget for the construction and operation of disability village.

"The disability village shall have an area spanning over three bigha in the Tarai, 20 ropanis in the hill and 10 ropanis in the mountain regions. The disability village includes facilities such as rehabilitation centre, medical service unit, indoor and outdoor sports, mid-day meal, skill development centre, sale promotion centre to sell the products prepared by beneficiaries, library, production of assistive materials and informal education centre," the procedure reads.

Interested differently-abled persons, who do not have any family member or care-giver, will be allowed to live under the custody of disability village until he/she becomes self-reliant.

According to the procedure, the buildings and road network in the disability village will be disabled-friendly, in addition to provision of separate blocs for persons with various forms of disabilities. It will also be equipped with round-theclock water supply system, sewerage, telephone and internet connectivity.

The procedure stipulate a provision of a 10-member disability village construction and operation committee led by secretary at the MoSD of the province concerned. It will be monitored by the MoWCSC.

As per the 2011 census, about two per cent (513,321) of the total population of Nepal is living with one or the other kind of disability. Of them, 280,086 are males and 233,235 are females.

Around 80 per cent of disabled people in the country are illiterate and 95 per cent are unemployed.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 5, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.