Pune: Just like many other schemes that don’t see the light of day, the pension scheme for disabled people in the city, announced by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) a couple of years ago, never materialised.
Officials from the Social Development Department of PMC said that the scheme hasn’t begun yet as the proposal is pending.
“The scheme was part of a few programmes that the PMC had announced at the end of 2015-16. Thus they couldn’t be implemented that year. In 2016-17, out of these, we proposed the implementation of two schemes related to the pension for women from backward classes, and secondly pension of Rs 2,000 per month for people with disabilities. As the matter is still pending, the schemes have not yet been started,” the official said.
However, the sources from PMC state that the real reason why the proposal for the scheme is pending is that there is a lack of appropriate funds to make budgetary provision for the said scheme. The source said that while the number of applicants would be low initially, it would certainly increase later, and then it will be difficult for the PMC to sustain the scheme.
Reacting to the same, Sunita Lele, an activist who works with Saad, questioned, “While any scheme is introduced keeping in mind the budgetary requirements of the same, where have those funds that were allotted to the scheme gone?”
Further reacting to the argument that the schemes and scholarships like these make the people with disabilities more dependent, Lele said, “It is true that many disabled people strive to make a living for themselves on their own. But it has to be considered that those with disabilities might never be fully financially independent as their disabilities put many limitations on what they do. On the other hand, their cost of living is higher than normal people, as their healthcare, and other requirements need a huge daily expenditure. Hence, it is necessary that these people must be provided the support that they need to live a better life.”