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J&K govt has forgotten to enhance the pension of the handicapped

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Srinagar, December 08: The state government had passed the order to increase the monthly pension of severely physically challenged residents of the state nine months ago but it has failed to implement the order ever after such a long span of time.

The state government has stated “non-availability of funds” as the reason for such a big delay. Pertinently, the announcement was made by the State’s Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu during his speech in previous budget session of State Assembly onMarch 25.

He said that there will be an increase of Rs 600 in the monthly pension of the handicapped. Earlier, the residents of state with some physical and mental disabilities used to get Rs 400 per month under Integrated Social Security Scheme to provide social security pension to many underprivileged sections of society.

The sources have said that the new budget session is approaching but the government has not implemented the order that was made in last budget session and hence it is facing the criticism from the disabled persons of the State.

According to 2011 census report, there are a total of 3.6 lakh handicapped people living in the state. However, a research by a prominent disability activist, Javaid Ahmad Tak says that there are around 6 lakh persons with disabilities with 1.2 lakh orthopaedic disable persons and around 90,000 persons facing mild to severe types of mental illness disabilities.

Javaid has expressed apprehension over the non-implementation of the pension enhancement order and called it the result of “non-serious” attitude of the Government. He said that he had met Finance Minister a month ago regarding the matter but the minister clearly told him that the order will be implemented once the funds would be available.

The Handicapped people have another demand to increase in the pension of severe at par with other States of the country.

“In many States the social security pension is around Rs 1000 in case of mild to moderate type of disabled people but in case of severe disable people the social security pension amount is Rs 2000 in order to meet various medical and social needs,” said Javaid Tak as quoted in Daily Excelsior.

He also said that the State should allocate funds for disabled separately in upcoming budget.

Director Social Welfare, Hashmat Ali Yatoo said that the process to implement the order is underway and it would be taken to its logical end soon.

“There are certain things which we need to sort out before disbursement of funds. We will not deprive the deserving handicapped persons from their pension and the order would be implemented soon,” he said.

Image Courtesy – India Today

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