Separate ministry for persons with disabilities demanded

DHAKA- Speakers at a dialogue in the city today demanded forming a separate ministry for persons with disabilities as it can take up special steps to ensure their rights and integrate them with the mainstream of development.

"We demand a separate ministry for persons with disabilities for their overall welfare," Access Bangladesh Foundation Chairperson CM Tufail Sami told the dialogue while presiding over it at CIRDAP auditorium.

State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan joined the dialogue as the chief guest.

Access Bangladesh Foundation, a non-government organization working on disabled and underprivileged people, organized the dialogue on "Disabled Persons Friendly National Budget 2017-18".

Parliamentary Caucus on National Planning and Budget Vice-President Kazi Rozi and Director- Resource Mobilization of Access Bangladesh Foundation attended the function, among others, while Foundation's Executive Director Albert Mollah presented a keynote paper.

In his keynote speech, Mollah demanded increasing the budgetary allocation for the persons with disabilities and said the volume should be Taka 6,785 crore in social safety and social empowerment sector in 2017-18 fiscal year, meaning the allocation will stand at 15 percent of the outgoing year's budget in the sector.

The budgetary allocation for disabled was Taka 756.34 crore in this sector in 2016-17 fiscal year, he added.

Mollah said the budgetary allocation for persons with disabilities was 1.67 percent in social safety and social empowerment sector under Social Safety Net in 2016-17 fiscal, 1.4 percent in 2015-16 fiscal, 1.07 in 2014-15 fiscal, 0.64 in 2013-14 and 0.57 in 2012-13 fiscal year.

He recommended giving priority to disabled persons in the 145 programmes under Social Safety Net which are being implemented by different ministries and divisions.

Mollah said, according to budget speech of 2016-17, some 14,90,105 persons have been specified as disabled till March2, 2016.

On the basis of their experiences at the grassroots, the Access Bangladesh executive director said, many disabled persons are still remaining out of the survey.

He stressed on specifying the correct number of total disabled persons in the country through a survey by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics maintaining international standard to help take proper development plans and make budget allocations for them.

Mollah also suggested increasing the amount of stipend from Taka 500 to Taka 800 at primary level education, from Taka 600 to Taka 1200 at secondary level, from Taka 700 to Taka 1500 at higher secondary level and from Taka 1200 to Taka 2500 at higher education to bring the disabled persons under education and reduce the dropout rate.

He also demanded proper implementation of quota in government job for the disabled.

Speaking briefly on the occasion, State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan assured of considering the demands and said he will discuss the issues with the persons concerned.

Kazi Rozi underscored the need for raising social awareness to integrate the disabled persons with the mainstream of development.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)