Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Special people

Today (December 3) is International Day of People with Disabilities. This year’s theme is ‘Not all Dis abilities are Visible’, and focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others. According to the UN, during the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines and diminished services have greatly impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities right around the world. Spreading awareness of invisible disabilities, as well as these potentially detrimental – and not always immediately apparent – impacts to mental health, is crucial as the world continues to fight against the virus, it said. Similarly UNESCO is also marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a week-long programme since November 25 to December 3 under the theme ‘Building back better: Towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities’. On December 1, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had also called for greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, including in COVID-19 response and recovery. “Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is crucial to fulfilling the core promise of the 2030 Agenda: to leave no one behind,” he had said while referring to the global action plan to bring about a more just and sustainable world. Now coming to our state, just like in other years programmes will be organized across the state for raising the issues of the handicapped, lectures would be delivered and some politicians might even announce special packages and programmes. At the end of the day the media will carry the news of the day and the day after people will forget it till the next annual occasion. Sadly that is all we have been experiencing with regard to the celebration 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 these people 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 handicapped, 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 widow 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 handicapped, widows and orphans can get rid from the agents who play with their naivety and handicaps. 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.