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`Disability criteria atrocious, to be changed`

Jairam Ramesh today said incidences of disability are far more than what are shown in official surveys.



New Delhi: Recognising the need to change the "atrocious" definition for `disability`, the government is contemplating re-defining it so that more people are benefited by the focused programmes introduced for such population.

Stating that a final decision on the new definition for disability will be taken in a year`s time as the current criteria does not reflect the true picture, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said incidences of disability are far more than what are shown in official surveys.

"We have an atrocious definition (of disability). You have to be 80 per cent disabled to be eligible for disability pension, which anyway you get once in seven months," he said.

Addressing a gathering of social activists or `change agents` who overcame various handicap to bring development in the society, Ramesh said, "One of the things we are contemplating, in fact I am hopeful that we will soon announce this decision, is changing the definition of who is disabled."

When asked to elaborate further, he said, "The new definition will include all forms of disability and will be introduced, hopefully, in a year`s time."

He stated that the step will enable more people to avail benefits of the schemes run for disabled people, specially the adolescent girls.

"Liberalisation of definition of what is disability will make more people eligible, particularly younger girls or adolescent girls for disability pension," Ramesh said.

He termed the quotas and reservations run for disabled people as inadequate.

"The incidence of disability is far greater than all the official surveys bring out to be. It is far more prevalent than what we think. Therefore all the action programmes and quotas we have, such as three per cent reservation for disabled, are clearly inadequate," he said.

PTI

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