Government of India Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities implements a scheme titled ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)’. A Regional Conference on the scheme was organized on 18th February, 2019 at The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata. The Conference was attended by Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs) from the Eastern and North-Eastern Regions of the country. This is the third of a series of Regional Conferences held across the country and the exercise will culminate in a National Conference to be held on 1st March, 2019 in New Delhi.

            Programme Implementing Agencies who are mostly NGOs, State Government representatives from the 13 States of Eastern and North-Eastern region namely West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim & Tripura were present at the conference. Under DDRS, Financial assistance is provided to about 600 NGOs every year. About 26% of total NGOs under DDRS and 46% of Special School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities are from Eastern and North-Eastern States.

            DDRS is a Central Sector Scheme of Government of India which is being implemented since 1999 for providing financial assistance to NGOs working for education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. This scheme was revised in 2018 and the revision is effective from 1st April 2018. This Regional Conference was organized in order to disseminate the provisions of the revised scheme and to bring the Department closer to the implementing agencies and other stakeholders. This conference provided a wonderful opportunity for interactions with all stakeholders ranging from the Central Government to the implementing agencies. An in-depth understanding of the scheme would enable better outreach in terms of better facilities to end beneficiaries, i.e. persons with disabilities.

.           Amongst the dignitaries Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India, Shri Vikash Prasad, Director, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Abhishek Biswas, Director, National Institute of Locomotor Disabilities (NILD), Kolkata and Shri Ramanuj Dey, Under Secretary to the Govt. of India were present.

            In his address, the Chief Guest of the conference Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary to Govt. of India described NGOs of DDRS as partners in the mission of empowerment of persons with disabilities and highlighted the need for creation of inclusive society that accepts and respects persons with disabilities without discrimination. He encouraged those present at the conference to continue their laudable work in this sector and presented his vision of an inclusive society that gives opportunity to all.

            The conference was also addressed by Dr. Abhishek Biswas, Director, National Institute of Locomotor Disabilities (NILD). He shared his views about the disability sector and DDRS Scheme.

            In the conference presentation was given by Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India highlighting the provisions of new scheme such as increase in the cost norms by 2.5 times, streamlining the procedure of application, increase the funding of projects from 75% to 90% of their total cost, extending special benefits to special areas such as Left Wing Extremism Affected Districts, removal of limit in increase of number of beneficiaries, etc. This was appreciated by all the audience.

          Shri Vikash Prasad, Director, also gave a presentation on detailed procedure for implementing the scheme. There was an interactive question and answer session with NGOs after both the presentations where many doubts were cleared.

            During the day long deliberation on DDRS scheme of Govt. of India in which the representatives of various agencies shared their views on how the scheme can be implemented better so that the benefits reach the targeted beneficiaries till the last person in the queue. The conference was an effective step towards good governance where the functionaries of the Central Govt. Ministries are reaching various parts of the country for creating awareness among the public. It leads to the ultimate objective towards ensuring welfare of Divyangjan and the dignity they deserve.

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