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Times of India
16 February, 2010
Subodh Ghildiyal
New Delhi, India

Disabled get a leg up: Rs 2000cr hike in social justice budget
The disability sector seems to be moving up the priority ladder, with the Centre giving a substantial hike in the allocation for schemes and institutions linked to disabilities for 2010–11. It comes with a near–double increase in the budget of the social justice ministry (MSJ). The rare focus on this sector seems in line with the growing awareness about the neglected sector.

Sources said the Planning Commission has cleared MSJ’s budget at Rs 4,500 crore, up from Rs 2,500 crore. Sources said it may set a trend as sectoral grants rarely see a dip with new budgets.

The central sector schemes on disability have managed more than before. The Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme will have a kitty of Rs 120 crore, up from Rs 76 crore for 2009–10. A healthy Rs 100 crore has been cleared for schemes under the Persons with Disability Act. Its last allocation was a meagre Rs 20 crore. The seven National Institutes for Disabled have got a grant of Rs 70 crore, up from Rs 49 crore. The MSJ will have Rs 100 crore, as against Rs 79 crore this year, for purchase of aids/appliances for disabled persons. Three corporations for SCs, OBCs and handicapped are in for a grant of Rs 130 crore, and the ‘handicapped corporation’ is expected to see an increase from present Rs 9 crore.

Social justice minister Mukul Wasnik had sought an annual grant of Rs 7,000 crore to meet expenses for schemes on SCs/OBCs, handicapped, old–age and for checking drug addiction. But a Rs 2,000 crore hike is significant as grants for three years have hovered around Rs 2,100 crore, Rs 2,300 crore and Rs 2,500 crore.

The increase will help MSJ revise Post–Matric Scholarships for SCs which have remained frozen for paucity of funds.

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