Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Bad system

Tomorrow (December 3) is International Day of People with Disabilities. This year’s theme is “United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.3 billion people experience significant disability today, which represents 16% of the global population. Many persons with disabilities die earlier, are at increased risk of developing a range of health conditions, and experience more limitations in everyday functioning than the rest of the population. According to WHO, these poorer health outcomes are “health inequities” because they are largely avoidable and driven by unjust factors within and beyond the health sector. These factors include, for example, discrimination in our societies, inequitable policies, the determinants of health, lack of access or quality of care, and negative attitudes of health workers – to name a few. These health inequities are a stark reminder that persons with disabilities are too often left behind, and that achieving good health and well-being for all (SDG3) requires the meaningful participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities. Now coming to Nagaland, just like in previous years, many programmes will be organized across the state for raising the issues of People with Disabilities, lectures would be delivered and some politicians might even announce special packages and schemes. At the end of the day the media will carry the news of the day and the day after that people will forget it till the next annual occasion. Sadly that is all we have been experiencing with regard to the observation of these special days. Regarding the pathetic condition and the rehabilitation remedies thereof, if something could be done for their betterment we all must contribute our bit. In this regard a reliable survey for the data of PwDs needs to be done by the concerned agencies. The packages and programmes already undertaken by the government as well as reputed NGOs need to be analyzed and monitored for future improvements. We are also aware of the pathetic condition of those who stand registered as beneficiaries in the State Social Welfare Department. According to reports, the government gives them a meager monthly amount. But on the ground the situation is not encouraging, instead, what we see is that these poor people who are handicapped to travel, understand and operate the modern day account systems are suffering badly. According to paper packages they are supposed to receive their stipend monthly through banks but in practice, as per reports, the department has been disbursing their amounts sometimes once in a year, sometimes twice. They just release the stipend of only some months against a year or more, that too in an irregular manner. This kind of practice has given birth to corruption even in the cases of PwDs, widows and orphans. Reportedly there are complaints that some vested interest people have become commissioned agents and they play with these beneficiaries and receive commissions from them for releasing their due amounts. This is the hallmark of our society that, even the traumatized, disabled and orphans too are not spared. Even our widowed mother is asked to pay bribe for the release of the meager stipend due to her. The loophole lies in the system of delivery. However it could be easily set right by regularization of this system. The department needs to streamline the whole delivery system by disbursing the beneficiaries amount directly into the beneficiaries bank accounts per month or bi-monthly or as could be their strategy but there should be uniformity in it. The dire need of the time is to regularize the delivery system then only our PwDs, widows and orphans can get rid from the agents who play with their naivety and disability. On the other hand the public level rehabilitation too needs to be analyzed scientifically. Though some NGOs and organizations are doing commendable job in this regard but they all need to co-ordinate somehow. That will ensure a better and safer delivery mechanism. Only those who deserve will be benefited.