On International Day of Disabled Persons, a Ministry for Divyang (differently-abled) was inaugurated in Mumbai to help the physically and mentally-disabled people in Maharashtra, educationally and professionally.
Maharashtra is the first State in the country to have a separate Ministry for the disabled that aims to ensure the welfare of the disabled and effective implementation of various government schemes for them.
On Saturday, it was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with the Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, M.P. Lodha in the presence of chief secretary and secretary of the Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance, Relief, and Rehabilitation. It will operate out of an old building of Mumbai University next to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and its Minister would be appointed in the upcoming Winter Assembly session.
Mr. Shinde added, “2063 posts have been created for this Ministry and provision of funds of ₹1143 crore has been made. The government has decided to provide 75,000 government jobs,” he announced.
Earlier all complaints and issues related to the differently-abled were handled by the Social Justice Department headed by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Achalpur in Amravati in Maharashtra, Omprakash Babarao Kadu popularly known as Bacchu Kadu has been fighting for a separate Ministry for the last two decades. He emphasised on the need for a separate Ministry and said, “We have a separate Ministry for backward classes, a separate Ministry for the tribals. In Maharashtra, there are close to 2.5 crore disabled people, it is high time that there should be a separate Ministry for them. The Ministry aims to help them with education, jobs, scholarships, health, employment, travel facilities and rehabilitation.”
Mr. Kadu, a Minister in the previous Uddhav Thackeray government added that once operational, steps would also be taken to get jobs for the mute and the deaf in the private sector. An MLA is given ₹10 lakh for the welfare of the disabled. He said, “We will be using the MLA funds along with funds from zilla parishad, nagar parishads, municipal corporation to set up a centre for the disabled and a park for them in every district in the State.”
Several initiatives have been taken to conduct door-to-door surveys to know how many disabled people there were in the State and the kind of assistance they needed. The independent MLA said that when he was the guardian Minister of Akola district in the Amravati division, only 7,000 disabled people were registered as disabled. “However, after conducting the door-to-door survey, we found 47,000 disabled people.”
The Ministry is expected to hire 2000 special trainers for different disabilities, however only 300 special trainers have been hired so far.
“We will be using the MLA funds along with funds from zilla parishad, nagar parishads, municipal corporation to set up a centre for the disabled and a park for them in every district in the State”Omprakash Babarao KaduMLA, Achalpur