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Special-needs teachers given raw deal

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A long wait: People with disabilities had to wait for two hours for Minister for Women and Child Development P.M. Narendraswamy to arrive at a seminar on ‘The role of NGOs in the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act’, in Bangalore on Monday.
A long wait: People with disabilities had to wait for two hours for Minister for Women and Child Development P.M. Narendraswamy to arrive at a seminar on ‘The role of NGOs in the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act’, in Bangalore on Monday.

Staff Reporter

Most of them who teach in special-needs schools get a monthly honorarium of Rs. 2,800

There are 100 special schools in Karnataka

Only 30 offer salaries on a par with State scale

Bangalore: With a monthly honorarium of Rs. 2,800, caregivers and teachers at a majority of special-needs schools in the State have little monetary incentive, said Das Suryawanshi, Commissioner for Persons with Disability.

Speaking at a meeting on “The role of NGOs in the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995”, organised by the Directorate of Disabilities, Mr. Suryawanshi said that out of the 100 special schools in Karnataka, only 30 offered salaries on a par with the State scale, which amounts to Rs. 6,000 or Rs. 7,000 a month. “The remaining receive salaries of around Rs. 2,800 as prescribed by the Centre.”

“This is not surprising considering that the entire budgetary allocation for disability in Karnataka is Rs. 20 crore, which leaves no more than Rs. 1 crore for special schools. In Maharashtra, for instance, the allocation for their 674 special schools is Rs. 180 crore,” he said.

Having kept his audience waiting two hours, especially inconveniencing several attendees in wheelchairs, Minister for Women and Child Development P.M. Narendraswamy, after his speech, asked representatives of non-governmental organisations to “send a written memorandum” of their grievances as he had other commitments to attend to.

Piqued by this suggestion, representatives of the organisations took to the dais and insisted that the Minister give them a fair hearing.

The Minister, who had said he was going to take stringent action against “fake NGOs” that were “exploiting” people, was told by NGO representatives that even recognised NGOs did not receive adequate funding from the State Government.

To this, Mr. Narendraswamy said he would place the proposal for additional funding before the Government in the coming financial year.

Another question raised was about the new scheme that extended Rs. 1,000 a month as pension to people with 75 per cent (or severe) disability. With only old documents available with them, several people with disability could not make use of the scheme, said a member of the audience.

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