Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Not Alms, Give us our Rights, say People With Disabilities at NPRD Rally

Ravi Kaushal |
They demanded increased pensions, caregiver allowance, delinking of Aadhaar from various schemes and issuance of Antyodaya Ann Yojana ration cards to all people with disabilities.

Thousands of people with disabilities gathered at Jantar Mantar on Monday to demand increased pensions, caregiver allowance, delinking of Aadhaar from various schemes and issuance of Antyodaya Ann Yojana ration cards to all people with disabilities. The protesters maintained that their right to live with dignity had been compromised with consistent underfunding of schemes and ignorance towards their demands.

Pappal Kumar, who came with his wife from Fatehabad district, said he has been facing issues with his pension and railway pass.

"Haryana government recently introduced the Parivar Pehchaan Patra policy where your income level determines your eligibility for various welfare schemes. We are witnessing several issues, and the focus of the bureaucracy is on ousting you from the ambit by declaring that your income is above Rs 1.80 lakh/annum. Second, under Chirag Yojana, students transferring from government to private schools are given financial benefits. In MGNREGA schemes, we have yet to be given work despite several guarantees. The attitude has been to treat us as people asking for alms. We do not want alms but our rights."

Hrishikesh Rajli from Hisar in Haryana said that the railway pass with concessions needs additional clearances now. 

"To get one such pass, I will have to travel to Bikaner from my village, and I know it will take several trips to finally attain the pass. How fair is asking us to travel with odds and get the pass?


Savitri Amma travelled with other friends of the movement from a district in Telangana to ask only one question. 

"Do not I deserve a pucca home where my dignity is restored?"

She said she has been running pillar to post to get a home under PM Awas Yojana.

Muralidharan, General Secretary, National Platform for Rights of the Disabled, told NewsClick that the outlook of the Union government towards people with disabilities becomes amply clear when giving a Rs 300/month pension. 

"Terming us 'divyaang' and linking it with god does not guarantee rights as citizens."

He added, "The centre provides Rs 300/month as pension under Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension. If we calculate, it will break down to Rs 10/day. You cannot drink a cup of tea in the national capital today. Interestingly, the eligibility standards have been so stringent that only persons with more than 80% disability will get this pension. So, we demand a uniform pension of Rs 5000 and link it with the cost of living index."

He talked about the successful movement in Telangana, which pressured the government to increase the pension to Rs 4,016/month. 

"However, many states are still following the directions of the Centre and giving Rs 300 pension. The allocations to the states under this scheme should also increase."

When asked about the demand to delink Aadhaar with the pension, Muralidharan said that the basic premise of having biometric data, including fingerprints and iris scans, conflicts with people with disabilities. 

"How will blind or disabled people provide data? However, we have been provided with an exemption regarding these things. But there is no sensitivity on the ground. The officials would deny the Aadhaar registration to us."

He added that the biggest hurdle has been the non-availability of data. 

"We do not know how many sanctioned posts have been filled and the vacancy status. We tried to get information through the Right to Information Act. However, state and central governments have been non-responsive on this matter."

He maintained that the Central Government assured before the Delhi High Court in 2020 to include households of persons with disabilities under Section 38 of the National Food Security Act, 2013, and provide food grains under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme. Following that, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution issued necessary directions to the state governments and Union Territories.

However, the non-provision of additional allocations of food grains to the states has led to many states expressing an inability to include people with disabilities. Given the cap on the number of beneficiaries that has been imposed due to inadequate allocations, in states like Tamil Nadu, where thousands of people with disabilities applied following the state releasing applications for the same, officials at the ground level have refused to entertain such applications as that may lead to the striking off of already existing beneficiaries.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram