Print Edition - 2016-05-29 | News
Infra to be made disabled-friendly
May 29, 2016-
The government has announced to make all state infrastructure disabled-friendly.The budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 has a programme to make public places friendly for people living with disability but it falls short of spelling out the operational timeframe.
The budget has also doubled social security allowance for senior citizens, single women and people living with disability, allocating Rs37.59 billion under the heading.
As per the announcement made by the finance minister on Saturday, disabled people carrying the red card will now get a monthly allowance of Rs2,000 while those with the blue card will be entitled to Rs600 a month. Totally disabled people get the red card while those partially disabled are given blue cards.
The increase in the sum and announcement to make schools, bridges and government buildings disabled-friendly received mixed feedback from stakeholders.
“Even after doubling our social security allowance, the government has not been able to carry out the Supreme Court’s order to provide cash enough for the people living with disability to sustain their life,” said Sudarshan Subedi, president of the National Disabled Federation, Nepal.
Subedi, however, hailed the decision to make public facilities including schools, banks and hospitals disabled-friendly, honouring the apex court order of 2014.
The Supreme Court in August 2014 had directed the government to pay at least Rs3,000 to partially disabled and Rs5,000 to totally disabled people and also to make public places disabled-friendly.
As per the budget, senior citizens will now get an allowance of Rs24,000 annually while single women will be entitled to Rs12,000. Even the doubling of social security allowance has not satisfied some senior citizens who say it is not enough to meet the soaring costs.
“Our demand for monthly Rs5,000 has not been met. We’ll continue our protests,” said Maha Prasad Parajuli, president of the senior citizens struggle committee.
The government has given continuity to old programmes “to boost self-esteem of the people with disability” while opening up a rehabilitation centre for them is also in the offering.
The budget also announced to rescue and rehabilitate street children. Temporary shelters would be provided for victims of gender-based violence and income generation training offered to women victimised by child marriage and dowry system.
The “President Women Promotion Programme” seeks to empower women by ending gender-based violence and developing entrepreneurship skills. Women will be given seed money to start their own businesses.
Budget for health sector up
The government has earmarked Rs40.56 billion for the health sector for the upcoming fiscal year, a 24 percent rise from the last fiscal. But its share of the total budget is only 3.8 percent, less than last year’s share.
The budget has proposed establishing new medical colleges in each federal province. Work to establish medical schools in Bardibas, Surkhet and Butwal would begin this year.
For the One Village, One Doctor programme, the government plans to provide scholarships for students of the same village without making them sit for the national entrance test.
In the next three years, the government aims to provide the health insurance cover for the entire population. By next year, the programme currently being run in three districts will be extended to 25 districts. For this, the government has earmarked over Rs2 billion. Treatment for renal, liver and cancer diseases will be made free of cost. Journalists will also get 50 percent discount at government hospitals.
The government plans to procure medicines that are distributed free from domestic pharmaceutical companies. The finance minister has proposed extending healthcare services to rural districts through extended programmes of medical colleges.
Under this model, every medical college will be asked to choose its teaching district, where they will be responsible for delivering healthcare services.
Published: 29-05-2016 08:42