1st March, 2019
National Conference on Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)
A National Conference on Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) was organized on 1st March, 2019 by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, 15 Janpath Road, New Delhi. Hon’ble Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Dr. Thaawarchand Gehlot was the Chief Guest and Hon’ble Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Ramdas Athawale was the Guest of Honour.
The objective of the conference was to sensitize the stakeholders of the scheme i.e. Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs), District level officers & State Government officers. Earlier the Department organized three Regional Conferences at Secunderabad on 22.12.2018, Mumbai on 17.01.2019 and Kolkata on 18.02.2019 covering the Southern, Western, Central, Eastern and North-Eastern regions of the country. Todays, National conference was to cover the entire country. About 600 delegates from across the country participated in the conference.
Under the Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme, every year more than 600 NGOs are provided with financial assistance for running their projects for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities such as Special school, pre-school and early intervention, Half-way Homes and Community Based Rehabilitation etc. The NGOs being funded are providing the rehabilitative services to more than 35000 to 40000 beneficiaries every year. In the implementation process of the scheme, the role of State Government is very crucial. The recommendation from the District Social Welfare Officer and State Government is important in release of grant-in-aid. The budget allocation for the year 2018-19 is Rs. 70.00 crores.
Even though the DDRS Scheme was in existence from 1999, a major revamp has been carried out in its provisions with effect from 01.04.2018. The scheme has been revised for making it more impactful for rehabilitation of PwDs. Improvements made in the scheme include increase of honorarium and other cost norms by 2.5 times, streamlining the process of application and processing of proposals, rationalising the number of model projects from 18 to 9, etc. The major projects include— Special Schools for Children with special needs, Project for Cerebral Palsied children, Half Way Home, Home Based Rehabilitation and Community Based Rehabilitation Programme (CBR) etc.
Dr. Thawarchand Gehlot, Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment gave the key note address. He said that the Government has been taking all possible steps to ensure that the Divyangjan could live a life of dignity. The Govt. has enacted Right to Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 with the objective to bring Divyangjans into mainstream of the society. He mentioned Guinness Book of World Records that the Department had made seven Guinness Book of World records, the latest being made yesterday at Bharuch, Gujrat where 260 Divyangjans were fitted with Artificial Limbs (Prosthesis) within a period of 8 hours at Bharuch in Gujrat on 28.02.2019. Shri Ramdas Athwale, Hon’ble Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment also addressed the Conference. Smt. Shakuntala Doley Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in her address 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. She encouraged those present at the conference to continue their laudable work in this sector and presented her vision of an inclusive society that gives opportunity to all.
During the conference a presentation was given by Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary highlighting the provisions of revised scheme and the process of implementation of the scheme. This was appreciated by all the audience. There was an interactive question and answer session with NGOs after the address of the Hon’ble Ministers and Secretary, 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.
The conference ended with a vote of thanks.