Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], November 19 (ANI): In a bid to empower persons with disabilities, the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new scheme -- Punjab Divyangjan Shaktikaran Yojna (PDSY)-- which will be implemented in a phased manner across the state.
According to the state government, the first phase of the scheme will involve strengthening the existing programmes to ensure that their benefits reach persons with disabilities in a more effective manner.
In the second phase, 13 new interventions are proposed to be undertaken for the empowerment of such persons, officials said. A decision to this effect was taken in a virtual Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here on Wednesday afternoon.
"The scheme, envisaged by the Social Security and Women and Child Development department, is aimed at providing a barrier-free environment to persons with disabilities in a phased manner, by making government and public-centric buildings, public transportation and websites accessible to them. Among other issues, the PDSY aims to fill the backlog of PwDs in government jobs, which has already been approved by the Council of Ministers while approving the State Employment Plan. The Department of Employment Generation would give greater thrust on filling up vacant posts of PwDs during the next six months," an official statement said.
It said that for overall guidance and policy support for the scheme, a Consultative Group headed by the Minister, Social Security and Women and Child Development, is proposed to be constituted with all concerned Cabinet Ministers as Members. The group would not only review the performance under the scheme but also suggest measures for improvements.
"The concerned line/administrative departments would implement various existing and new interventions under the scheme as part of their respective Annual Plans, the details of which would have to be submitted to the Social Security and Women and Child Development department. The Department would prepare a consolidated Annual Plan for the development of PwDs, which shall be reviewed by the Planning and Monitoring Committee (PMC) headed by its Principal Secretary," the statement said.
For inter-departmental coordination and resolution of issues that may crop up in the implementation of the scheme, a State Level Steering Committee (SLSC) chaired by the Chief Secretary would be constituted with all concerned Administrative Secretaries as members.
"Under Phase-I, the scheme would focus on providing to PwDs the benefits of existing schemes being run by various Government departments with a goal to reach out to all of them in the state, so as to provide services/benefits/rights in respect of healthcare, education, employment, safety and dignity in all spheres of life," the statement said.
"Phase-II of the PDSY shall have new initiatives/programmes to cover those aspects and needs which have hitherto not been covered under any existing centrally/state sponsored scheme or PwD-oriented schemes by different departments," it added.
Divulging the salient features of the PDSY, a government spokesperson said that the scheme focuses on convergence and integration of various existing schemes and programmes to maximize their benefit for the development of PwDs with an aim to converge 30 existing schemes and programmes.
These include free concessional travel in government buses also for one attendant of a blind person.
Other programmes include Smart Ration Card Scheme under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, Health Insurance, Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna (SSBY), Earning Livelihood through Punjab State Rural Livelihood Mission (PSRLM), Shop-keeping, Skill Development and Vocational Training, Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SABLA), Hostel Facilities, Free Coaching, Ashirwad Scheme, etc. (ANI)