National policy on leprosy eradication needed: Ram Naik

Mumbai: Despite the Central Government`s claim about eradication of leprosy, over 1.34 lakh new cases have been detected during the last one and half years, former Union minister Ram Naik said here today.

It is necessary to complete the survey of Leprosy Affected Persons (LAPs) by July 2011 and finalise a national policy for their empowerment, Naik said, adding this demand was made by a Committee on Petitions of Rajya Sabha in its recent report.

The recommendations in the Committee on Petitions report must be implemented, he told reporters.

"Though it has been claimed that the country has achieved the goal of eradication of leprosy, a shocking revelation has come out that far from eradicating the leprosy, the number of new LAPs has reached the mind boggling figure of 1,34,184 during 2008-09," the senior BJP leader said.

"The Committee recommended that LAPs should be given sustenance allowance of Rs 2,000 per person per month so that they can lead a dignified life," Naik said, adding Centre and states should share the expenditure on humanitarian grounds.

The Committee also suggested that children of LAPs should have separate schools on the lines of residential schools for blind and children belonging to Scheduled Tribes, he said, adding these persons are physically capable and should not be deprived of a driving licence.