Jatiya Pratibandi Forum (JPF), in a press conference on Sunday, highlighted that there has not been any significant allocation for development of people with disabilities in the national budget, despite assurances earlier from the Finance Minister himself that several ministries would be allocated specific budgets for mainstreaming people with disabilities. Small allowances provided through the social welfare ministry is simply not enough to address the multifaceted problems faced by people with disabilities. With an estimated 16 million people in Bangladesh living with disability with insufficient state support, excluded from mainstream society, we implore the government to revisit the proposed budget and allocate the promised amount to concerned ministries.
Muhith, at a views-exchange meeting with JPF representatives on May 11, had pledged to allocate the money to a few ministries including education, local government, health and women and children affairs so as to enable people with disabilities to be integrated into society. As an Ain O Salish Kendra research notes, currently, only four percent of children with disabilities have access to education in any form; public health centres remain inaccessible to people with disabilities, and there are inadequate disabled related services in the country, such as early identification, aids and appliances, educational or therapeutic services or vocational rehabilitation. In addition, they are denied the same rights, freedoms and quality of life as other citizens of this country, with their freedom of movement severely restricted.
Under these circumstances, it is imperative that the different ministries work together to integrate people with disabilities, providing them with education, skill development training and other services that enable them to be active members of society.