In a virtual cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab's Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, the new Punjab Divyangjan Shaktikaran Yojna (PDSY) for disabled persons was passed. The scheme, modelled by Social Security and Women and Child Development Department, will be launched across Punjab in a two-phase manner. A consultative group headed by the Minister of Social Security and Women & Child Development and composed of all Cabinet Ministers will review performance and suggest measures for improvement.
Phase one of PDSY aims at strengthening existing programs and ensuring maximum benefits with respect of healthcare, education, employment, safety and dignity in all spheres of life to cover all persons with disabilities in the state. Under Phase Two, the department has proposed 13 new interventions including free education, treatment on suffering a disability, mobility aids & assistive devices, promoting education, state award for outstanding work done by teachers with disabilities, research and human resource development, five days of special leave in a calendar year, participation in local government, service provider scheme and survey and database creation at the district level, empowerment of disabled girl students, recreational activities, and homeschooling scheme for children with special needs. Under the scheme, the Department of Employment Generation shall also try to fill the vacant seats of PwD in government jobs in the next six months.
As per 2011 census, Punjab has 6.5 lakhs disabled population; 2.14% of the total population of which 3.79 lakhs (58%) are males and 2.74 lakhs (42%) are females. A spokesperson said, "The State government in Punjab is committed to ensure the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and to provide them equal opportunities to have their maximum effective and inclusive participation in society."
"PDSY focuses on integration and convergence of already existing schemes that would benefit the development of PwDs with an aim to cover 30 existing schemes. This includes Smart Ration Card Scheme under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, Health Insurance, Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna (SSBY), Earning Livelihood through Punjab State Rural Livelihood Mission (PSRLM), Shop-keeping, Skill Development and Vocational Training, Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SABLA), Free Transport Facility to Students, Hostel Facilities, Free Coaching, Ashirwad Scheme, Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme, Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs (CWSN), Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy for Children with Special Needs and other programs," they added.