NEW Delhi: The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana with an objective to provide senior citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from age related disabilities/ infirmities, with physical aids and assisted living devices such as walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/ crutches, tripods/ quad-pods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles free of cost to the beneficiary senior citizens. The scheme is entirely funded from the Senior Citizen’s Welfare Fund. Under the Scheme funds are not released to the different States/UTs but to the sole Implemented Agency i.e. ‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’, a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The following scholarship schemes have been introduced by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities during the last three years- Top Class Education (for Graduate degree/Post-graduate degree/ diploma in notified institutes of excellence in education) – 2015-16, and Free Coaching (for students appearing in competitive examinations for Government jobs and admission to technical and professional courses) – 2017-18.
The fund in respect of Rashtriya Vayoshree Yojana is released to the implementing agency i.e. ALIMCO for organizing Assessment / Distribution Camps throughout the country. The funds released under the scheme during 2017-18 is Rs.17.5 crore and Rs.53.25 crore during 2018-19.
In so far as schemes of Top Class Education and Free Coaching for Students with Disabilities (SwDs) are concerned State/UT-wise funds are not allocated. However, in case of Top Class Education for SwDs, the number of slots of scholarships are distributed among all the States and Union Territories. The number of slots available to any State/UT is decided on the basis of percentage of population of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) of that State/UT in comparison to the total PwD population of India. In case the number of scholarships so allocated to a State/UT is not fully utilized, due to non-availability of eligible candidates, the unutilized slots are allocated amongst the other States/UTs where the number of eligible candidates is more than the slots allocated to that State/UT.
The total amount released under Top Class Education is Rs. 176.75 lakh and for Free Coaching for SwDs Rs. 87.24 lakh during the last three years.