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National Resource Kit: The Sikkim Chapter (Call for Comments)

Posted by Manojna Yeluri at May 29, 2013 11:00 AM |
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The National Resource Kit team is pleased to bring you its research on the state of laws, policies and programmes for persons with disabilities in the state of Sikkim.

Executive Summary

According to the 2001 Census, nearly 20,367 persons or 3% of the State population are identified as persons living with disabilities. The responsibility of ensuring the welfare of these persons with disabilities primarily rests with the Social Welfare Division of the Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department of the Government of Sikkim. This Government department implements various policies, programmes and schemes aimed at the welfare and empowerment of persons living with disabilities.

Screening camps and medical camps emphasising the medical welfare of persons with disabilities are periodically arranged by the Government of Sikkim in conjunction with the STNM Government Hospital. Vide Notification No. 02/HC, HS&FW dated 30.01.09 by the Department of Healthcare, Human Services and Family Welfare, disability screening camps are to be arranged on specific dates of the month by the District Medical Board members in the respective District Hospitals accompanied by officers of the Sikkim Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare and the staff of various Deendayal District Rehabilitation Centres.[1]

The Government of Sikkim has also introduced other measures such as the establishment of special schools for children with disabilities. The Social Welfare Department of Sikkim has established a Special School for Hearing impaired children in June 2004 at Sitchey Busty, Gangtok. The school is residential in nature, providing accommodation, education and other facilities towards ensuring the general welfare for children suffering from hearing impairments.[2]

Furthermore, the Sikkim Government attempts to spread its reach by collaborating with several non- governmental organisations or NGOs in the state. The Government of Sikkim provides certain NGOs with financial assistance, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions. As a result, NGOs have been able to provide better treatment and rehabilitation facilities to persons suffering from disabilities and living in the State of Sikkim.[3]

Accessibility
The only measures introduced in Sikkim on accessibility is concessions in transport. Free travel facility to the blind is provided in state owned buses.

Apart from the the State’s IT Policy issued by the Department of Information Technology states that it will develop special software for providing IT access to persons with visual impairment, cerebral palsy, speech and hearing disorders in association with NGOs and local enterpreuners. It is not clear if such software has already been developed by the State.

Education
The State of Sikkim provides special measures to children with disabilities in the pursuit of their education.

  • Stipends and Scholarship Schemes
  1. A stipend of Rs. 500/- per month per child, and Rs.500 per annum towards their studies in special schools outside of the state are provided for by the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare.
  2. The Government also provides a scholarship amount of Rs. 50 per month to every child studying in Class I to VI, Rs. 60 per month to every child in Class VII and Class VIII, and finally Rs.85 per month for every student in Class IX to XII.
  3. A scholarship amount of Rs. 800 per month is provided to students desirous of pursuing their higher education in institutions established outside of Sikkim, and Rs. 2000 for all those students wishing to pursue their higher education in institutions in the State of Sikkim.[4]

    Special Schools
    The Social Welfare Division has established a Special School for the Hearing impaired children in June 2004 at Sitchey Busty, Gangtok. It is a residential School where accommodation, education and general welfare for the hearing impaired children are provided.

Employment

  • Reservation in Government Jobs: By Office Order No. 5/SW dated 31.12.1990, in Grade 'C' and 'D' posts reservation are provided in direct recruitment for physically handicapped persons as indicated below:
  1. Visually handicapped  - 1%
  2. Orthopaedically handicapped – 1%
  3. Hearing handicapped  - 1%
  • Conveyance Allowance: Government and PSU employees who are blind and locomotor disabled are provided conveyance allowance.
  • Self-Employment: Persons with disabilities receive assistance for self-employment.
  • Vocational Training: Vocational training is given to persons with disabilities in sheltered workshops.

Health and Rehabilitation

  • Aids and appliances: Persons with disabilities get free of cost prosthetic equipment.
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) Scheme: As per the implementation of this Central Scheme, the Government of Sikkim provides assistance to those persons with disabilities who are in need of durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances. The purpose of this scheme is to ensure the promotion of the physical, social and psychological rehabilitation of persons with disabilities by reducing the effects of disabilities and to thereby enhance their economic potential. Aids and appliances that are provided include walking sticks, crutches, and wheel chairs. These appliances have been distributed to those persons with disabilities belonging to families living Below the Poverty Line (BPL).
  • Deendayal District Rehabilitation Scheme: Under this scheme, the Government of Sikkim has established a district disability rehabilitation centre in at STNM Hospital complex Gangtok in 2000. This DDRC has been working towards the rehabilitation of persons living with disabilities in Sikkim. In an effort to further facilitate the proper rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, the Government of Sikkim has made available the facilities of a Mobile Disability Van and a Mobile Rehabilitation Unit Van. In the Fiscal Year of 2009-10, 526 aids and appliances were distributed from the Deendayal District Rehabilitation Centre and 9 disability camps were conducted with two camps having been held in the Western district of the State, three in the South and East and one in the North.

Social Protection

  • Disability Pension: Persons with disability above 40 years of age are provided disability pension of Rs. 100/- per month. Blind persons also get Rs. 100/- per month.
  • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme: The State of Sikkim provides social protection to persons with disabilities by way of local implementation of the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme.  The purpose of the scheme is to provide persons with disabilities in the age group of 18 to 64 years, who are members of families living below the poverty line, with a certain sum of money in order to provide for their welfare. The beneficiaries under this scheme include all those persons suffering from severe or multiple disabilities as defined under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995and the ‘National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 (National Trust Act 1999)’. In total, beneficiaries under this scheme receive an amount of Rs. 600/- per month.
  • Subsistence Allowance: Under the auspices of the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare, the Sikkim Government provides a subsistence allowance amounting to Rs. 600 per month to persons with disabilities living in the state. In order to avail of the benefits under this scheme, beneficiaries must show that they are suffering from atleast 40% disability and that they should be a resident of the state of Sikkim. Furthermore, the beneficiary must hail from a family identified as a BPL or below the poverty line family.

[1]. http://sikkimsocialwelfare.in/General/SocialWelfare/Camps.aspx

[2]. http://sikkimsocialwelfare.in/General/SocialWelfare/SchoolForDeaf.aspx

[3]. http://sikkimsocialwelfare.in/General/SocialWelfare/AsstToVolOrg.aspx

[4]. http://sikkimsocialwelfare.in/General/SocialWelfare/WelfareForHandicapped.aspx

[5]. http://sikkimsocialwelfare.in/General/SocialWelfare/IGNDS.aspx

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