Special children make candles at a centre in Jamshedpur. Telegraph picture
East Singhbhum has stood up for persons with disabilities by encouraging people and institutions to become legal guardians of the disabled, as part of a new central initiative that is yet to pick up in other districts of Jharkhand.
So far, 68 individuals and registered outfits have newly acquired legal guardianship of the disabled in the district. East Singhbhum has nearly 300 registered persons with disabilities.
Earlier, local level committees used to directly offer legal guardian certificates.
However, since March-end guardians have been asked to freshly apply for their certification by registering online with the Management Information System (MIS) — an initiative of the National Trust, which was set up under the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment. The certificates issued earlier now stand cancelled.
P. Babu Rao, a member of the East Singhbhum local level committee, told The Telegraph: “There were examples of incorrect and inflated data earlier, which will not be possible now. After the guardians log in to the National Trust website and enter all the details with MIS, they will be given automatically generated 15-digit unique certificate numbers. The guardians have to produce the numbers before the local panels for verification, following which the DC will hand out the certificates.”
The DC heads the local level committee. According to Section 14 of the National Trust Act, local level committees are empowered to appoint legal guardians for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities.
The need for the guardians is underscored by the dependence of the disabled on others, even in adulthood, for taking decisions on their behalf.
The guardians may be biological parents, siblings, relatives or voluntary organisations, who are willing to represent and shepherd the disabled, especially in legal matters.
The new arrangement allows the National Trust to centralise the process and keep tab on the guardians while maintaining transparency.
Prospective legal guardians have to provide photographs, birth certificates, address proofs and other documents for verification by the panels.
“The certificates will help the guardians avail of loans of up to Rs 3 lakh meant for their wards. The guardians will also be able to take decisions on management of movable and immovable properties. But they have to ensure residential care for the wards,” said Rao.