ACHIEVEMENTS / SUCCESS STORIES:
Over the years with rights of the disabled persons as its prime mission HANDICARE has emerged as a premier national level advocacy association of the disabled people. And the unique and characteristic feature of HANDICARE’s advocacy programme is that HANDICARE has achieved all this only by sensitizing the persons concern and by unrelenting persuasion of the matter. Up till now HANDICARE have not even once raised any slogan or staged a demonstration, and above all without any financial aid / grant of any kind from even Central or State government or any other body.
At State Level:
It is to the credit of the HANDICARE that today U.P. has emerged as a model state which has formulated some of the path breaking policies for its disabled populace which no other Indian State has even emulated. To cite a few:
1. On 23rd July 2014 Government of U.P. issued order, no. 1135/ Bees-1-E-2014-U.O.-154/14, changing the name of ‘Viklang Kalyan Vibhag ‘ to ‘Viklang Jan Vikas Vibhag’, adding the word ‘Jan’ (person) and replacing ‘Kalyan (welfare) by ‘Vikas (development) in the existing name.
2. Hundred percentage tax exemption in house and water tax to the blind and orthopaedically disabled persons.
3. HANDICARE was able to persuade the Uttar Pradesh Housing & Development Board to develop a barrier free park for the disabled people and they built India’s first and only totally accessible park having a special toilet, provision for wheelchairs etc., at Lucknow. They also gave HANDICARE two rooms in the park to extend our services there.
4. Disabled employees and parents of the disabled children of U.P. Government have been exempted from routine transfer.
5. Road Tax has been exempted on the school buses of the NGOs.
6. Again due to untiring efforts of HANDICARE U.P. has introduced a system of special parking for disabled persons all over the State. The scheme envisages a 5% reservation of all parking slots and permission to park in certain non-parking areas and free parking. Special Parking Stickers has been issued for the vehicles of the disabled people.
7. Examinations to be conducted on the ground floor only, of the disabled students.
8. Again U.P. is the only State where the practice of affixing of photographs showing disabilities on ‘Disability Certificates’ and other Government documents has been completely stopped. Instead a plain passport type photograph suffices.
And HANDICARE must also tell that the meeting regarding this very important issue which was held with the entire team of the principal secretary, medical and health, Government of U.P., took less than a minute to give their assent to this provision after chairperson HANDICARE stated her point on this matter.
At Central level:
HANDICARE’s advocacy work is just not confined to the State of U.P. but it has also sensitized the Central Government to make some very significant and conducive policies for the disabled people.
1. HANDICARE persuaded the Ministry of Railways, Government of India for providing concessional fare to the disabled people in AC II, AC III and AC Chair Car in trains when Ist class coaches were being replaced by AC coaches. Many other national level organizations (Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Amar Jyoti, FOD, Spastic Society, Sewah etc.) lent their support and forwarded our representation to the Ministry of Railways.
2. Banks were not providing conveyance allowance to their disabled officers. HANDICARE was able to get the same clarified from the Ministry of Finance, Government of India resulting in banks distributing the conveyance allowance to their officers having disability.
3. HANDICARE was again able to persuade the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to enhance the conveyance allowance to the disabled bank employees
4. HANDICARE could motivate UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Maharashtra to provide special car loans to their disabled award (clerk) staff who as a rule are not entitled for car loans.
Though HANDICARE’s primary area of work is ‘policy advocacy’ it has a separate cell to ease individual problems of the disabled persons. To illustrate, here are some important cases which are given in very brief;
1. Prafulla’s story:-
Prafulla who belongs to Rajkot suffers from locomotor disability of more than 80% disability due to Polio in her both lower legs. She began her career with an organization, a charitable hospital, as a clerk in accounts section. Keeping in view her disability special seating arrangements were made for her. She even had a special toilet designed for her. Her work was excellent and soon she was promoted.
After three years there was change at the top of the institution and the new administration transferred her to another section wherein she had to work in a console area. And this was the point when things began to go wrong for her. There were no proper seating arrangement and bathroom facilities. For the use of later Prafulla was to go to the third floor. It must have been a harrowing time for her as the console room was air-conditioned which in turn aggravated her condition. Then she was asked to sit in the X-Ray room.
Then one day out of the blue she was asked by the higher authorities that they were finding her incapable of discharging her duties hence she should either leave voluntarily or a medical board would be convened against her and she would be unceremoniously bundled out of the organization.
She now stood at the cross road of her life. What would she do if she lost her job, how to save her job was her prime concern? Then one day her sister told her about HANDICARE and she approached HANDICARE to save her job.
Mrs. Mridu R. Goel, Chairperson, HANDICARE sought and personally met ‘Swamiji’the head of the organization. Her first sentence to swamiji was, “Swamiji, on my way to you I was thinking why I am coming to you to plead Prafulla’s case when you are there to help everyone more so the distressed ones?”
That sentence alone was enough. Prafulla not only got back her job but also got posting of her liking in that hospital.
2. Dr. B.V.Giri, an employee of the Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), Gonda, having a unique hereditary disability effecting his six family members, was repeatedly denied promotion and other facilities by the local administration. Dr. Giri had approached the office of the Chief Commissioner Persons with Disabilities also where he got a patient hearing but ITI dragged on the case. Mr. Giri came to know about HANDICARE and approached HANDICARE about his case.
Chairperson HANDICARE talked with Chairman who had his office in Bangluru. Mr. Pandey, Chairman ITI, not only gave a good ear but also assured that no injustice would be done to Dr. Giri. And he kept his words. Dr. Giri not only got his due promotion but also all other entitlements due to her.
3. Mr. Wasiuddin Ansari, resident of Lakhimpur Kheri, called up at 6.53 am and informed that he has come with six other disabled persons for tricycles and crutches etc. HANDICARE guided him to Composite Regional Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) on telephone constantly guiding him (at 8.55 am, 9.30 am, 9. 55 am. and finally at 2.55 pm) till they got four tricycles and two crutches. In between talking to the authorities of CRRC to support Mr. Wasiuddin and his fellow disabled persons.
4. Mr. Jagdish Singh Keda, a retired Postal Office clerk called from Nainital regarding his job previous to his taking VRS on 22nd August 2009 HANDICARE could gauze that he had no case but even then persuaded Post Master General to talk to Mr. Keda and listen to him. .Mr. Keda was a well satisfied person after talking to PMG.