The government will soon announce new norms for disabled people, substantially easing the criteria for disability, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.
The ministry is finalising a note to be sent to the cabinet for its approval in this respect, Ramesh said without giving specifics of the changes. Currently, the law requires a government doctor to certify 80% disability in a person seeking to be declared “disabled’ and benefit from relevant government programmes.
“It’s very difficult to get a certificate for 80% disability. It should be eased to 30% or 40%,” Ramesh told participants at the launch of a book on change-makers brought out by HT in partnership with Tata Tea.
His comments came in response to a question from a visually-impaired entrepreneur, Mahantesh GK from Bangalore who has been featured in the book – “India Awakened: Agents of Change.”
Releasing the book Ramesh also called for institutionalising and scaling up the work being done by change-makers. The book features 25 ordinary Indians who had brought about change in their local economies, education, health and issues of human rights — often at great personal cost.
The job of “scaling up their work should be done by the government, not the private sector,” said National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy. “Even if the government is inefficient or corrupt we can hold it accountable,” Roy said, participating in a panel discussion that followed the book release.
Sociologist Dipankar Gupta said the stories of the change-makers, which appeared in HT between January and April, offered the government with “specific models” for emulation. They can also be “replicated by the political class as well as corporates,” said BJP spokersperson Nirmala Sitharaman.