Brinda warns of movement if Budget ignores disabled

Kolkata: CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on Saturday said there would be a country-wide protest if proper allocation for the disabled was not made in the coming Union budget.

"We regret that the Government's policies are totally insensitive to the needs of the families with disabled children," she said at a national convention for disabled persons here.

Karat said while the Government had exempted Rs 4 lakh crore in taxes for the rich, it was not allocating funds for the education of disabled children.

Altogether 142 schools for disabled children had closed for want of government grants, she said, adding that teachers with skills for teaching the disabled are unemployed in Karnataka.

"We are warning the Government that there will be a country-wide movement if proper allocation is not made in the budget for the disabled. The schools for the disabled should be reopened and teachers with special education skills should be employed," she said.

CPI(M) MP said that during the Budget session, the Left will raise voice in Parliament demanding 'Antyodaya' cards for every disabled person in the country to ensure their food security.

Describing the Government's estimate of 4.5 crore disabled in the country as a gross underestimation, the Rajya Sabha member said the government had no proper way to identify the disabled.

"They are kicked about like football and have to bribe officials to get their Disabled Identity Cards."

She said that the Persons With Disabilities Act was inadequate in properly addressing the needs of the disabled.

Convenor of the meet and West Bengal Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly said while sensitising the society about the challenges faced by the disabled, it was also equally important to instill a sense of self-respect among the differently abled.

This, however, will not be possible alone by the organisations for the disabled and there was a need for involving the mass organisations in this initiative, Ganguly said.

"A movement for creating public awareness about the differently abled people must be built up in lines with the campaign against polio or HIV/AIDS," he said.

Issues like Education and Health, Employment and Livelihood and harmonising Indian laws in context of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities were discussed at the convention.