Increase budget to ensure their social inclusion
The government should increase the budget allocation for persons with disabilities to ensure their rights and social inclusion, said discussants at a programme yesterday.
Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) organised the event, titled "Promoting Social Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities", in the capital's Brac Centre.
Speaker said public infrastructure, transports, offices, hospitals, and even educational institutes are not disabled-friendly. The national budget allocation for persons with disabilities was only 0.33 percent and 0.37 percent respectively, while the total budget increased each year, they said.
They said need-based allocation by different ministries is needed for persons with disabilities.
"During natural disasters, we are at risk in the coastal areas. It is difficult for us to find cyclone shelters. The government should allocate funds to the development of specialised shelters for persons with disabilities," said Habibur Rahman, a person with physical disabilities and resident of Satkhira's Shyamnagar village.
Meher Afroz Chumki, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee of the Women and Child Affairs Ministry, said, "We have to keep in mind that creating job opportunities for persons with disabilities is not charity. It is the constitutional right of every person with a disability to have a decent job. The present government is increasing such opportunities in every sector."
"If we can bring these people into the economy as productive members of the workforce, we will be able to achieve a double-digit growth," she said as a special guest.
Addressing the meeting, journalist Sohrab Hassan said the government should ensure education and employment for persons with disabilities. Besides, the salary of teachers with disabilities should be increased, he added.
He also stressed disability-friendly educational infrastructure.
"To reduce corruption in this sector, the government should also ensure strict monitoring," he said.
Planning Minister Muhammad Abdul Mannan said the government will build a cyclone centre that persons with disability can use. "The government is improving the quality of their life by providing various allowances."
"Government allocation is insufficient for their needs. But we have increased opportunities for them," he said while addressing as the chief guest.
Presiding over the event, Farida Yesmin, executive director of DRRA, said, "Proper budget allocation is vital but we need proper monitoring so that persons with disabilities get an appropriate share of the allocated budget."
She also emphasised the role of the private sectors in this regard.
National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons Managing Director Ruhul Amin Khan and General Secretary of Mahila Awami League Shabnam Jahan Sheela also spoke at the event.