NEW DELHI, Feb 19: Government will soon set up a separate department for welfare of persons with disabilities within the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.
The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has got in- principal approval from the Prime Minister's Office in this regard and the Cabinet decision is now awaited for creation of the Department of Disability Affairs within the Ministry, officials said here today.
The proposal was moved by the Ministry sometime back after a need was felt to create a separate department under a Secretary-rank officer to address the issues of people with disability, they said. Presently, the issues related to empowerment of disabled people in the country are looked after by a division in the Social Justice Ministry.
The formation of a separate department will ensure better implementation of government schemes and proposals for betterment of disabled people, the officials said. All the statutory bodies, national institutes and Public Sector Enterprises working in the areas of empowerment of disabled people will be put under the new department after it is created, they added. As per the 2001 Census, there are 2.19 crore disabled people in the country which is around 2.13 per cent of the total population. These include persons with visual, hearing, speech, locomotor and mental disabilities. Maximum number of 34,53,369 disabled people were registered in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar and West Bengal. According to the NSSO Survey of 2002, 75 per cent of persons with disabilities live in rural areas. While 49 per cent of disabled population is literate, only 34 per cent are employed.