Harassment and Exploitation, under Department of Disability Affairs, Govt. of India
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Corruption, Exploitation and Harassment in the DDRS Scheme, under the Department of Disability Affairs, Govt. of India.
Corruption and Harassment
NGOs receiving Grants under the Department have to pay a part of the Grant applied for as bribe to the Officials in the Department of Disability Affairs, Govt. of India, before processing of the Grants-in-aid application begins. There are secure channels through which the bribe is paid. It is not possible to prove the allegation, as both the bribe givers and takers are prosecuted by the Govt. and nobody will come forward to give witness. The allegation of bribe can be proved only through circumstantial evidence as grants-in-aid is not released even after all the documents as required under the rules are submitted. If bribe is not given than important papers like State Govt.'s recommendation goes missing and the NGOs are asked to submit a fresh recommendation. In this process the time passes, and the Ministry says that the Grant has lapsed. Many front ranking NGOs running Special Schools have not received grants for years, and some have closed the Schools. Examples: Jewels International, Bhubaneswar, closed the Special School at Bhawani Patna of Kalahandi District after not receiving grants for 3 years. Vijay Human Services, Chennai, stopped applying for grants after not receiving grant for 3 years. The founder of the Special School, Prof. P. Jeyachandran, had to sale his personal property to clear the salary of Staff and Maintenance of students.
I am deeply saddened for Prof. P. Jeyachandran, who is 71 years old and who has a Ph. D. from Minnesota University, USA, and dedicated his life for the service of persons with Intellectual disability in India. He remained a bachelor in his life so that he will have all the time for the persons with intellectual disability and their parents. He is revered by the professionals in the field of disability in India and abroad. But all his requests and trails did not yield any results. No grant was released to his Organisation Vijay Human Services.
Another issue connected with the Vijay Human Services, Chennai, is that the Organisation was asked to translate the Audit and annual Reports in Hindi, and submit 50 copies of the report for processing of the Grants application. The Organisation had to work hard to prepare all documents in Hindi and submitted the same to the Ministry. But after all the hard work, Grant was not released. why?
Now the question is, why the Govt. of India is imposing Hindi on Non-Hindi Speaking States? Is it not a harassment? Is it not violation of the basic framework of the Constitution of India?
Shelter and Bikashayan, Kolkata, are two other Organisations running to the the Ministry for last three to four years to receive grants. As per my information, they have only received little amount of grant and suffering. Many Special Schools have been closed or running without receiving grants for years, and the children with disabilities and staff are starving.
An inquiry will reveal how many Special Schools have been closed during last 10 years due to non-receipt of Grant and how many are suffering due to non-receipt of grant, even if their applications were recommended by the respective State Govt.s.
The Minimum Salary fixed by the Govt. now is Rs. 18,000/- for peons. But this norm is not applicable to the Staff working under the Dindayal Disability Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS). The website of the Department of Disability affairs, Govt. of India, shows that the Head Master is paid Rs. 8,300/- per month, other teachers are paid between Rs. 6,900/- and Rs. 3800/-. Attendants are paid as low as Rs. 2,500/- per month. the Staff working in Special Schools are full time workers and have families! Literally, these people are starving. It is a Human Rights Violation by the Govt.
The Govt. of India has a Minimum wage policy for the unskilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled agricultural workers. The Minimum wage for unskilled workers is Rs. 300/- per day, whereas, semi-skilled workers are paid Rs. 307/- per day, skilled/ clerical workers are paid Rs. 334/-, and highly skilled workers are paid Rs. 364/- per day. My question is are the staff working in Special Schools are less than the agricultural workers? The Special Educators are required to have Diploma in Special Education/ B. Ed. in Special Education.
Many State Govt.'s are paying salary to Special Educators at par with Staff of Regular Schools. An attendant working in Special Schools of the Govt. Odisha is paid Rs. 16000/- per month, a Trained Matriculate Special Educator receives about Rs. 20,000/- salary per month. The Head Master receives Rs. 36,000/- per month.
My question is does Govt. of India has less money than the Govt. of Odisha or it is the Apathy of the Officers in the Department of Disability Affairs to the people working for the persons with disabilities, so that they are paid so low salary? another pertinent question is why the salary paid to full time workers is called Honorarium and not Salary? Is the word Honorarium is used to cheat the full time workers of Special schools?
when the organisations running with the programme for decades with honesty and integrity do not receive grants in time and than after some time the grant lapses, it is out right violation of human rights. Only inference from this situation is that those who have paid the bribe money their grant is released and those who do not pay their grant lapses.
I request our dynamic, most honest, and most competent Prime Minister of India, Sjk. Narendra Modiji to kindly look into the matter and give justice to the children admitted in Special Schools and the Staff working in Special Schools. The Children with disabilities must receive continuous and quality service in Special Schools under the Din Dayal Rehabilitation Scheme and the Staff working in Special Schools receive a salary at par with their counter parts in regular schools. The gimmick of using the word 'Honorarium'at the place of 'Salary' to cheat the Employees of Special Schools, is out right Human Rights Violation, and this must change.
The Govt. of India must develop a system to root out corruption altogether in all NGO related schemes under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Even if all application processes are made online, this does not stop the corrupt official in the Ministry to have their way.
I am taking this opportunity to request the public to sign my petition so that the Injustice by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India, to the Persons with disabilities and their care takers is corrected at the earliest.
Narayan Chandra Pati
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