Government Schemes And Concessions
Indian Airlines allows 50% concessional fare to blind persons on a single journey or single fare for a round trip journey on all domestic flights. To avail this facility, a blind person has to produce a certificate from a medical practitioner. The air-hostess or steward will look after blind persons not accompanied by escorts during the flight. The Public Relation Officer or Traffic In-charge at the airport will render necessary assistance to such passengers at the airport at the departure and arrival. Escorts have to pay full fare.
As per the order of the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, a visually impaired person traveling alone or with an escort, on production of a certificate from a Government doctor or a registered medical practitioner, is eligible to get the concession as below:
Class First Second Sleeper
% of concession 75 75 75
Season Ticket 50 50 -
Section 80 DD
Section 80 DD provides for a deduction in respect of expenditure incurred by an individual or HUF resident in India on medical treatment (including nursing), training and rehabilitation etc. of handicapped dependents. For officiating the increased cost of such maintenance, the limit of the deduction has been raised from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000.
A new Section V has been introduced to ensure that the parent, who has authority over the income of a disabled minor under Section 64, is allowed to claim a deduction up to Rs. 20,000 in terms of Section 80U, in case of an individual who is suffering from a permanent disability (including blindness) or is mentally retarded.
Section 88 B
This section provides for an additional rebate from net tax payable by a resident individual who has attained the age of 65 years. It has been amended to increase the rebate from 10% to 20% and to allow this benefit in cases where the gross total income does not exceed Rs. 75,000 (as against a special limit of Rs. 50,000 earlier).
Payment of postage, both inland and foreign, for transmission by post of literature packets for the blind is exempted if sent by surface route only. If packets are sent by air, the prescribed airmail charges should be paid.
The rule to this effect is as follows:
- 'Blind literature' packets are exempted from payment of the following fees besides being exempted from the payment of postage (I) registration fee, (II) fee for acknowledgement and (III) fee for the attested copy of the receipt.
- Postage free ‘blind literature’ packets will be transmitted by surface route only, and if they are to be sent by air, the airmail charge as prescribed for packets has to be paid.
Notification No. 105/86 Dated 17.2.86 issued by the Department of Revenue, M/O Finance
The Central Government exempts goods specified in the table below, when imported into India by handicapped or disabled persons for personal use, from the whole of the duty of customs and the additional duty subject to the condition that the importer produces to the Assistant Collector of Customs, at the time of importation, a certificate from the Civil Surgeon from the District, Medical Officer or the Director of Health Services of the concerned state or a specialist if the concerned specialist is attached to a Government Hospital or a recognized medical college to the effect that the importer suffers from the particular handicap or disability and that the imported goods, in respect of which the exemption is claimed, are essential to overcome the said handicap or disability. Such goods are:
- Braille writers and Braille writing equipment
- Handwriting equipment, Braille frames, slates, writing guides, Styli, Braille erasers, script writing guide
- Canes, electronic aids like the Sonic Guide
- Optical environmental sensors
- Arithmetic aids like the Taylor Frame (Arithmetic and Algebra Types, Cubarythem, Speaking or Braille Calculator)
- Geometrical aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille protractors, scales, compasses and spar wheels
- Electronic measuring equipment, such as calipers, micrometers, compactors, gauges, blocks levels, rules, rulers and yardsticks
- Drafting drawing aids, tactile displays
- Specially adapted clocks and watches
As per notification C.S.R No 550 (E) dated 10.11.1978 issued by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, institutions (including registered cooperative societies) for the blind and the deaf are permitted to import equipment and apparatus as per table below, being bonafide gifts to be purchased from donations received in foreign exchange by such institutions from:
- The whole of the duty of customs leviable thereon under the first schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51) of 1975,
- The whole of the auxiliary duty of customs leviable under subsection (1) of section 35 of the Finance Act, and
- The whole of the additional duty leviable thereon under section 3 of the said Customs Tariff Act at the time of import of such goods into India.
- All tangible appliances for the blind
- Vocational aids for the blind and the deaf
- Articles including instruments, apparatus, appliances, machinery and spares of component parts or accessories thereof required by such institution for the purpose of giving training or imparting instructions to the blind and deaf.
Exemption of Braille paper
The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) vide their Notification dated 1.3.81 (Annexure VI) has exempted Braille paper, falling under item No.17 of the First Schedule to the Central Excises and Salt Act 1944 (1 of 1944) from the whole of the duty of excise leviable thereon subject to the condition that such paper is supplied direct to a school for the blind or to a Braille press against an indent placed by the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun.
As a social obligation on the part of the Andhra Pradesh State Government, APSRTC is issuing bus passes to the physically challenged, mentally retarded, blind, and deaf and dumb persons to travel free in buses operating in cities/towns. In case of services operating in rural areas, physically challenged persons are allowed 50% concession in normal fares. Escorts for the blind and mentally retarded are charged a nominal fee of Rs. 5 per head per month for travel by city buses and given 50% concession by buses.
Scheme of integrated education for the disabled children
Under this scheme, handicapped children are sought to be integrated in the normal school system. Hundred percent assistance is provided to States/United Territories for education of children suffering from certain mild handicaps in common schools with the help of necessary aids, incentives and specially trained teachers. The children are provided the following allowances and facilities under this scheme:
- Books and stationery allowance
- Uniform allowance
- Transport allowance (if a disabled child admitted under the scheme resides in a hostel of the school within the school premises, no transportation charges are admissible.)
- Reader allowance in case of blind children after class V
- Escort allowance for severely handicapped children with lower extremities disability
- Actual cost of equipment subject to a maximum of Rs. 2000 per student for a period of five years
Under the central scheme namely 'Scheme of scholarship to disabled persons from class IX onwards' facilities and grants are uniformly available in each State/UT.
Facilities for Economic Rehabilitation
Bank loansAll nationalized banks are required to give loans to visually impaired persons at a differential interest rate of 4.5 percent up to Rs. 7,500.
Loans from NHFDC
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has constituted the National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation for providing soft loans to persons with disabilities at a minimal rate of interest. The NHFDC has appointed state level agencies for processing loan applications and for disbursement and recovery of loan, etc.
The IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Program) has provision to give a subsidy up to 67 percent on loans given by nationalized banks and Government institutions to visually impaired persons. It is now mandatory that at least 3 percent of the beneficiaries under the IRDP are persons with disabilities.
Schemes like TRYSEM (Training of Rural Youth in Self-Employment) provide training in rural trades and handicrafts and help in supply of tool kits to rural artisans. The visually impaired youth can be registered/involved in such schemes.
The DWCRA (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas) scheme helps in development of horticulture, sericulture and similar activities through support of formation of groups of 10 to 15 women, and supply of credit to undertake economic activities.
Employment promotionThe JRY (Jawahar Rojgar Yojna) an employment promotion scheme to generate additional gainful employment for unemployed and under-employed women and men in areas of watershed development, social forestry, construction of rural link roads and rural housing.
Special concessions for the spastic, physically handicapped, blind and dyslexic candidates appearing for board examinations of CBSE
The following are the guidelines and scope of the above facilities:
- Exemption from examination in the third language
- Permission to use an amanuensis and allowed an additional 60 minutes (1 hour) time for each external examination
- Consider physiotherapy exercises equivalent to the physical & health education course of the Board
- Option of studying one compulsory language as against two. This language should be in consonance with the overall spirit of the Three-Language Formula prescribed by the Board.
- Besides one language any four of the following subjects should be offered: mathematics, science, social science, second language, music, painting and home science.
Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Establishment of Special Schools
The scheme envisages assistance to the NGOs up to the extent of 90% for establishment and upgradation of special schools in the four major disability areas — orthopedic, hearing and speech, vision and mental retardation. Priority under the scheme is given for setting up schools in districts where there is no special school. The Ministry supports both recurring and non-recurring expenditure.
Scheme of Subsidy for Purchase of Petrol/Diesel to Disabled persons
The central scheme namely ‘scheme of subsidy on purchase of petrol/diesel to physically handicapped persons has been transferred to the state/UT government for smoother functioning of the program where the facilities/grants are uniformly available in each State/UT.
Award of dealerships/agencies by oil companies
Award of retail outlet, 2/3-wheeler outlet, kerosene-LDO dealerships and LPG distributorships
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has reserved 7% of all type of dealership agencies of the public sector oil companies for physically handicapped/government personnel (other than defense personnel disabled on duty) and widows of government personnel (other than defense personnel who die in the course of duty). The oil industry appoints dealers/distributors through an advertisement in 1 English daily and 1 regional daily, with the maximum circulation in the district where the dealership distributorship is to be located.
Partially physically handicapped (PH) candidates are also eligible. Totally blind persons are eligible for an LPG distributorship.
Reservation of jobs and other facilities
As per the order of the Government of India reservation of 3% in jobs have been made in Gr 'C' and Gr 'D' posts for the PH persons. The category of handicapped persons benefited is the bind, the deaf and the OH persons as given below:
Category of Handicap % of Reservation
The blind 1%
Scheme of assistance to organisations for disabled persons
Under this scheme the Union Ministry of Welfare offers assistance up to 90% of the recurring and non-recurring expenditure to voluntary organizations for developing services for the disabled. Assistance for buildings does not exceed Rs. 5 lakh.
The following types of activities are assisted:
- Detection, intervention of primary nature, prevention of disability
- Education and/or training
- Rehabilitation — physical, psychological, social and economic
Family PensionHandicapped children shall be eligible for the benefit of family pension even if they have been born after the retirement of a Government servant from a marriage solemnized after retirement.
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Tripura provide unemployment allowance to disabled persons.
Assistance for Self-employment
All State Governments and Union Territories provide vocational training and loans with certain percentage of subsidy assistance to disabled persons for self-employment. Public sector banks extend the benefit of differential rate of interest scheme (loan at 4% interest) to physically handicapped persons by providing loans for pursuing gainful occupation are also eligible to draw benefit under this scheme. The above institutions are exempted from income criteria.
Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Pondicherry and Punjab give State Awards to employees who entertain more disabled persons as their employees and best disabled employees.
States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra provide merit awards to disabled students who secure more than 60% marks in public examinations.
Most State Governments in India provide pension to the visually impaired in the range of Rs. 60 to Rs. 200 per month. The criteria, age, amount and procedure for availing such pension vary from state to state. Application has to be made in a prescribed form to the respective Social Welfare Department through the revenue authorities.