DIPR/STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 3rd Dec:
Apparently reacting to disparaging comments of the Congress leaders against the BJP-led governments in the state and at the Centre over non-disclosure of the framework agreement signed with the NSCN-IM and its potential threat posed to the territorial integrity of Manipur, chief minister N Biren remarked that it is very easy to break the state into pieces with few words or agitation but more difficult to integrate and unite the people.
Speaking as the chief guest during launch of 'Chief Minister-gi Shotharabasingi Tengbang'(CMST) on the occasion of International Day for Persons with Disabilities at Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium on Sunday, the CM affirmed that his government is trying to reduce the hill-valley gap and bring about emotional integration in the state.
The observance was held under the aegis of Social Welfare Department. While appreciating the decision taken by the civil societies that they would work together with the government in solving any issues besetting Manipur, he also pointed out that the idea of disintegration is a past perspective and urged the people to support the present government to help protect Manipur's integrity.
The government is not inclined towards any particular section or community of the society and it doesn’t discriminate among the communities, he added.
Stating that people centric, responsive and responsible governance is the hallmark of the new government, Biren said that the new BJP-led government is committed towards deliverance of human service to the people of the state.
He further maintained that there is no such religion which is higher or above humanity. He went on to stated that his government is committed to the welfare of the people and would work to deliver good governance and development in the state.
CM Biren acknowledged that persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in the society and they are often subjected to stigma and discrimination, apart from having limited access to proper healthcare services, quality education, fewer economic opportunities and are generally excluded from social processes.
Stressing that CMST is reflective of the firm commitment of the state government to empower the differently abled persons and the marginalised sections of the society, the chief minister stated that the scheme would facilitate their vital and meaningful participation in contributing towards the creation of socio-economic wealth and overall welfare of the state.
Mentioning about the elderly people who are living in old-aged homes, the chief minister said that maintenance fund would be deducted from the accounts of those Government employees who discriminate or ill-treat their parents and don't allow their parents to live at their homes.
He also disclosed that the government is planning to soon introduce new schemes/initiatives for children living in orphanages as well.
The chief minister further appealed to the officials of the Social Welfare Department to work towards rendering human service and give priority to persons with disability and aged persons.
Deputy chief minister Y Joykumar Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said that it is a historic and path breaking moment to see the launch of such a unique scheme for the welfare of the persons with disabilities in the state.
Stating that the primary objective of CMST is to provide quality of life to differently-abled persons and to bring about inclusive development in the state, he expressed hope of the adoption and initiation of such schemes in other states as well.
He further said that without the love and support of the people, the government alone cannot execute such a huge task of providing better care to the differently-abled persons in the state, while adding that collective effort is needed for successful implementation of the scheme.
Maintaining that India has one of the more progressive disability policy frameworks in the entire developing world, Social Welfare and Co-operation Minister Nemcha Kipgen, who presided over the function, said that there are certain challenges such as lack of awareness, challenges of inter-sectorial co-ordination etc., that are hindering proper implementation of various social welfare schemes in the state.
She assured that the present government under the leadership of chief minister N Biren Singh would overcome the challenges and hurdles in implementing policies for all categories of differently-abled and intellectually challenged people, so that they can become part and partial of the society.
The “CM gi Sotharabasingi Tengbang” scheme has been designed with five sub-schemes, which include Care-Giver allowances/Maintenance Grant to Persons with high support needs, Self employment loan with subsidy to persons with disability along with skill training, Scholarship to students with disability, Free travel and concession to persons with disabilities and Management grant for homeless older persons.
As part of the scheme, persons having disability of 80 per cent or more will be provided Rs 1500 per month. The beneficiaries will also be covered under “Swavlamban Health Insurance Scheme for PwD”, wherein the state government will provide the mandatory beneficiary contribution of Rs 366 per annum, which will provide a health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh to four members of a family and OPD charges. The persons with disabilities in the age group of 19-59 yrs who can work would be provided with soft loans to take up economically viable employment opportunities and self-employment through Manipur Society for Skill Development (MSSD).
CMST also includes a scholarship scheme for students with disabilities. The rate of scholarship to be given is Rs 3000 per annum for Class I-V; Rs 4000 per annum for Class VI-VIII; Rs 6000 per annum for Class IX-XII and Rs 8000 per annum for Graduate & Above. Under the scheme, a free travel and concession to persons with disabilities will also be given in public transport under Manipur State Transport (MST).
The Scheme also includes a maintenance grant for homeless older persons with monetary support of Rs 1000 per month to older persons in the age group of 60 years and above, who have been left homeless or are sheltered in old age homes recognised by the department. To avail all these benefits, document such as domicile certificate, disability certificate, unique ID, and bank account information will be required. The application form can be availed from the Social Welfare Department or can also be downloaded from the department's website.
On the occasion, dignitaries handed over monetary allowances, scholarships, free travel cards and maintenance grant to various beneficiaries. Around 900 beneficiaries will be provided with Care Giver allowance, 140 beneficiaries will get Student scholarships, 286 beneficiaries will get maintenance grant, 700 beneficiaries will get free travel card and 5 beneficiaries will be given soft loans under the scheme.
The function was also attended by IPR minister Th Biswajit Singh; Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar Singh; CAF&PD Minister Karam Shyam; Tribal and Hill Areas Development Minister N Kayisii; PHE Minister Losii Dikho; Agriculture Minister V Hangkhanlian; MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan; MLA Khashim Vashum; Chief Secretary R R Rashmi; Additional Chief Secretary Dr Suhel Akhtar; Commissioner (Social Welfare) H Deleep Singh; Director (Social Welfare) Jacintha Lazarus and officials of the Social Welfare Department.