Divya Ramamurthi

10 such SHGs may be constituted in every district

  • SHGs to focus on income-generating activities
  • The project may cost the Government Rs. 9 crore
  • Members of the groups may also be trained in cottage industry

    BANGALORE: The Department of Welfare and Senior Citizens is planning to set up self-help groups (SHG) to assist persons with disabilities in income generation activities.

    A proposal to set up 10 self-help groups (SHG), each comprising 20 differently abled persons in each district of the State, has been approved by the State Government. The project cost, which includes training activities and micro finance to started income-generating activities, is estimated at Rs. 9 crore.

    Srirama Reddy, Director of the Department of Welfare and Senior Citizens, said through the project the department hoped "to reach out to the differently abled in the rural areas as their access to jobs was limited."

    According to the 2001 Census, there were more than 9 lakh persons with disabilities in the State and more than 7 lakh lived in rural areas.

    The SHGs would concentrate on income-generating activities such as making of candles and agarbhatis and mushroom and dairy farming, said Mr. Reddy. "We want to train them in cottage industry activities as there is potential for the products," he said.

    Links

    Since marketing links for products developed by SHG are poor, Mr. Reddy said, the department was planning to interact with non-governmental organisations to establish better links. "We are planning to do a market study for the need of these products before we establish our units," he said.

    Getting jobs in Government and private sector had been difficult for persons with disabilities. In spite of the State, earmarking 3 per cent of government jobs in group A and B and 5 per cent of jobs in group C and D for persons with disabilities, most posts had not been filled up. The 89 posts for group A and B were identified more than a year ago. "We identified openings in 21 government departments and informed the departments. But since then no recruitments have taken place and the posts have not been filled," said Mr. Reddy.

    Many government departments were hesitant to recruit persons with disabilities because they perceived that differently abled persons would not be able to handle the work efficiently enough, said Pradeep Kumar, former assistant commissioner in the office of the Commissioner for Disabilities.

    Mr. Kumar said the Department of Social Welfare and Senior Citizens should integrate persons with disabilities into existing SHGs instead of creating ones exclusively for them. "We need to include persons of disabilities into mainstream society instead of making them feel marginalised," he added.

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