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Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities implements a scheme titled ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)’. A Regional Conference for the scheme was organized on 17th January, 2019 at Nehru Centre, Mumbai covering Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs) from the Western Region of the country. This is the second of a series of Regional Conferences to be held across the country and the exercise will culminate in a National Conference in New Delhi.
NGOs, State Government representatives from four Western States, namely, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa were present at the conference. Under DDRS, Grant-in-Aid is released to about 600 NGOs every year. About 10% of total NGOs under DDRS, 10% of total grant and 10% of Special School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities are from Western Indian States
DDRS is a Central Sector Scheme of Government of India which is being implemented since 1999 for providing financial assistance to NGOs working for education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. This scheme was revised in 2018 and the revised scheme is being implemented since 1st April 2018. This Regional Conference was organized in order to disseminate the provisions of the revised scheme and bring the Department closer to implementing agencies. This conference provided a wonderful opportunity for interactions with all stakeholders from Central Government to implementing agencies. An in-depth understanding of scheme would enable better outreach in terms of better facilities to end beneficiaries, i.e. persons with disabilities.
Amongst the dignitaries, Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary, DEPwD, Shri. Dinesh Waghmare, Principal Secretary to Govt. of Maharashtra, Smt. T. C. A. Kalyani, Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment were present.
In his address, Dr. Prabodh Seth, described NGOs of DDRS as partners in the mission of empowerment of persons with disabilities and highlighted the need for creation of inclusive society that accepts and respects persons with disabilities without discrimination. He encouraged those present at the conference to continue their laudable work in this sector and presented the vision. He made an elaborate presentation highlighting the provisions of new scheme such as increase in the cost norms by 2.5 times, streamlining the procedure of application, increase the funding of projects from 75% to 90% of their total cost, extending special benefits to special areas such as Left Wing Affected Districts, removal of limit in increase of number of beneficiaries, etc.This was appreciated by all the audience.
During her speech Smt. T. C. A. Kalyani said that the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has been making tireless efforts for holistic empowerment of Divyangjan. She emphasized the need of exercising financial prudence to ensure that the Government fund is utilized for the purpose it is meant for.
The conference was also addressed by Shri Dinesh Waghmare, Principle Secretary (Welfare), Government of Maharashtra who shared his views and said that the new Act on disability promulgated by Govt. of India shall ensure rights of the persons with disabilities in the society. Govt. of Maharashtra is making the rules under RPwD Act 2016 for its effective implementation in the State.
Shri Vikash Prasad, Director, also gave a presentation on detailed procedure for implementing the scheme. There was an interactive question and answer session with NGOs after both the presentations where many doubts were cleared.
During the day long deliberation on DDRS scheme of Govt. of India in which the representatives of various agencies shared their views on how the scheme can be implemented better so that the benefits reach the targeted beneficiaries till the last person in the queue. The conference was an effective step towards good governance where the functionaries of the Central Govt. Ministries are reaching various parts of the country for creating awareness among the public. It leads to the ultimate objective towards ensuring welfare of Divyangjan and the dignity they deserve.