Various surveys conducted from time to time have made it clear that India has a very large number of disabled persons. Many of them come from low-income groups. Disability restricts their opportunities for leading functionally productive lives. A number of aids have emerged through the application of modern technology which can reduce the effects of disabilities and enhance the economic potential of the disabled. For example, a wheel chair, an artificial limb, crutch, a brace, a splint can greatly improve the mobility of physically disabled individual. Similarly, with the help of a powerful hearing aid, persons with some residual hearing can be helped to carry on many activities of daily living. However, a large number of disabled persons are deprived of the benefits of these appliances because of their inability to find funds to purchase them. In April 2005, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment started a Scheme of assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP Scheme).
In the light of the Government’s growing stress on helping disabled persons and in bringing the aids and appliances within their reach, it has been decided to continue the ADIP Scheme and modify it in such a way that it becomes more user-friendly and the needy are not deprived of aids/appliances, which are essential for their social, economic and vocational rehabilitation. If they can, thereby, become earning members they would be much closer to achieve economic self-dependence and also be able to live and pursue their activities with dignity.
At the beginning of this century, estimates, according to the 58th Sample Survey conducted by NSSO in 2002, indicated that there were about18.04 million persons with various types of disabilities in the country. Their disabilities restricted the opportunity for their economic and social growth. In addition, about 3 per cent of the children below 14 years of age suffered from delayed development. Many of them were and are mentally retarded and cerebral palsied and require some aids/appliances to attain the capacity for self-care and independent living.
The main objective of the Scheme is to assist needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential. The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme must be ISI.
The Scheme will be implemented through the listed Implementing Agencies. The Agencies will be provided with financial assistance for purchase, fabrication and distribution of such standard aids and appliances that are in conformity with objective of the Scheme. The Implementing Agencies will take care of/make suitable arrangements for fitting and post-fitting care of the aids and appliances distributed under ADIP Scheme. The scope of the Scheme has been further enlarged to include use of mass media, exhibitions, workshops etc. for exchange of information and promoting awareness and distribution and use of aids/appliances.
The Scheme shall also include under its ambit, medical/surgical correction & intervention, which is essential prior to fitment of aids and appliances. The cost could range from Rs. 500/- for hearing and speech impaired to Rs. 1,000/- for visually disabled and Rs. 3,000/-for orthopaedically disabled.
Eligibility of Implementing Agencies
The following agencies would be eligible to implement the Scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, subject to fulfillment of laid down terms and conditions:
- Societies, registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and their branches, if any, separately.
- Registered charitable trusts.
- District Rural Development Agencies, Indian Red Cross Societies and other Autonomous Bodies headed by District Collector/Chief Executive Officer/District Development Officer of Zilla Parishad.
- National/Apex Institutes including ALIMCO functioning under administrative control of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment/Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- State Handicapped Development Corporations.
- Local Bodies- Zilla Parishad, Municipalities, District Autonomous Development Councils and Panchayats.
- Nehru Yuvak Kendras.
Grant-in-aid under the Scheme will not be given for commercial supply of aids/appliances. The NGOs should preferably possess professional/technical expertise in the form of professionally qualified staff (from recognised courses) for the identification, prescription of the required artificial aids/appliance, fitment and post-fitment care of the beneficiaries as well as the aid/appliance. The NGO should also preferably possess infrastructure in the form of machinery/equipment for the fabrication, fitment and maintenance of artificial aid/appliance to be given to a disabled person under ADIP Scheme.
Implementing organisations should network and establish linkages with medical colleges/district hospitals/rural hospitals/PHCs/fitment centers of ALIMCO/DRCs/ any other professionally competent agency to acquire/avail the requisite infrastructure for fitment and maintenance of aids/appliances distributed under ADIP Scheme available with these bodies.
Eligibility of The Beneficiaries
A person with disabilities fulfilling following conditions would be eligible for assistance under ADIP Scheme through authorized agencies:
- He/she should be an Indian citizen of any age.
- Should be certified by a Registered Medical Practitioner that he/she is disabled and fit to use prescribed aid/appliance.
- Person who is employed/self-employed or getting pension and whose monthly income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 10,000/- per month.
- In case of dependents, the income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs. 10,000/- per month.
- Persons who have not received assistance from the Government, local bodies and Non-Official Organisations during the last 3 years for the same purpose. However, for children below 12 years of age this limit would be 1 year.
Problems and Challenges
In States facing Naxalite, terrorist and insurgency problem the ADIP scheme tends to fail. Besides, due to financial limits that have been set only low tech assistive devices such as sticks, crutches, simple orthotic devices, old design calipers and heavy prosthesis are being distributed. High cost items such as wheelchairs, tricycles are distributed on a very low scale. Most important and shocking, allegations of corruption are swirling around several organisations that receive funding from the Government to help people with disabilities. For example, in October last tear, a sting operation by a TV channel revealed embezzlement of funds and other malpractices by a trust run for the handicapped and disabled by the then Law Minister and his wife. The beneficiaries didn’t exist on given addresses. One of the beneficiaries was not handicapped. The trust doled out funds to non-existent beneficiaries. The listed beneficiaries denied attending camps, availing benefits. These are just some of the problems and challenges which the Government needs to face without delay.