Telangana: Differently-abled struggle as Aasara pension scheme ineffective

Hyderabad: The Aasara pension scheme, supposed to aid among other groups, the disabled, has provided next to nil results. In connection to the same, the Telangana Disabled Welfare Society (TDWS) carried out a protest on Tuesday, in the hopes that it would garner the necessary support to remedy the situation.

However, considering the response of the state in the last three years it is unlikely that the situation will improve. The protestors remarked that over the last three years, the state government has not disbursed funds under the Aasara scheme as a result of which, the disabled community which is supposed to get Rs 3016 is suffering to make their basic ends meet.

Syed Afroz, the president of TDWS has time and again visited the Hyderabad district collector’s office and met with various Mandal officers as well to address the concerns of the disabled community but to no avail. He informed that each time he broaches the subject, he is told that while the applications have been processed by the local officials until the state’s budget comes through, the money won’t be disbursed and neither is a clear explanation given as to how the state plans on aiding disabled people.

Aside from granting the deserved pension money, the protestors also demanded from the Telangana state government to implement the 5% reservation applicable to disabled people in the job market, to grant them houses under the double bedroom scheme, as well as ensuring that every person living with a handicap gets a free metro pass to navigate the city with ease.

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Faiyaz Khan (40), has been living with a disability since his childhood. Khan was given an injection meant to treat chickenpox when he was four years of age. However soon after the injection was administered, his limbs were paralyzed and since then, he hasn’t been able to walk. “Abhi bhaiyon ke saahre hi hoon,” (I am now living because of the aid my brothers offer.) he remarked.

A similar story is at play in Qamar Jahan’s life. Paralyzed in all her limbs, Qamar (44) manages to survive only because of her daughter who tends to her needs. Qamar informed that she has never received formal education and hence she has given up on employment. “It would be a great help if the pension money comes through because I need to pay the rent and as of now I cannot afford my medicines either,” she added.

“Even the white ration card which is supposed to aid disabled groups access 36 kilograms of rice isn’t being disbursed,” added Afroz. When asked about the COVID-19 vaccination rate among the disabled groups, Afroz remarked that despite best efforts a lot of them passed away due to their inability to access the vaccine.

As per Afroz’s claims, barely any disabled people residing in Telangana have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

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