The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has said the budgetary allocation for people with disabilities has been too low in the past few years. It has urged the Central government to increase the allocation in the upcoming Union Budget.
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, te NCPEDP said,"Over the past few years the budgetary allocation for person with disabilities has been 0.04 per cent which is disheartening and inadequate to meet the needs of this particularly vulnerable and marginalised section of society."
It noted that people with disabilities have been the worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
"Loss of access to healthcare, support systems, education, livelihood and even basic food supplies are the new normal for the vast majority of India's differently-abled community. At this time especially and in the near future, access to support has become a survival issue."
Among its recommendations, the rights' body for the disabled people said the Union government should ensure inclusive tax policy measures for the differently-abled.
The NCPEDP said no GST should be levied on aids and appliances for persons with disabilities and no tax should be imposed on the purchase of cars and wheelchairs available in the national and international markets.
It also sought an increase in Standard Deduction under Section 80 U and 80 DD of Income Tax for persons with disabilities.
The NCPEDP has asked the Centre to appoint a person in all the states within the Ministry of Finance responsible for disbursing the fund for disabled people.
Among other suggestions, it has urged the Union government to step up investments to safeguard livelihoods, including measures such as unemployment allowances for disabled people, who have lost their jobs and livelihood due to the pandemic.
"Give a boost to employment of disabled persons by providing incentives to private sector employers (as mandated under Section 35, RPwD Act-2016) to ensure that at least 5 per cent of their workforce constitutes persons with 'benchmark disability'," the NCPEDP recommended.
It has also suggested an increase in allocation under NHFDC for generating entrepreneurial and self-employment opportunities among disabled persons.
It said that the quantum of state disability pension should be raised to Rs 1,500 per month for every differently-abled person.
Persons with 'benchmark disabilities' need to be provided monthly support such as adequate caregiver allowance in accordance with Section 38 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act,2016, the NCPEDP said.