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Rs 2 lakh grant for spouse of disabled

- One-time grant by Sikkim govt
Pawan Chamling

Gangtok, Dec. 2: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling today announced a one-time government grant of Rs 2 lakh to those who marry a physically-challenged person in the state.

Sources in the state social welfare department said the modalities of the scheme are yet to be worked out.

“I today announce a one-time grant of Rs 2 lakh for those who will willingly marry a physically-challenged person. The work on this will commence soon and will be implemented in the state…. The physically challenged persons have an equal right to live a dignified life like other normal people,” Chamling told a workshop on disabilities at the auditorium of Tashi Namgyal Academy here today.

The event today was organised by two NGOs working for disabled people — the National Trust of India and the Spastic Society of Sikkim — a day before the International Day of People with Disability.

Asked about the criteria one had to fulfil to avail himself or herself of the grant, a senior government official said: “The chief minister made the announcement today and the work on finalising the scheme will start soon. It would be too early to comment. The physically-challenged people enjoy other benefits also under different welfare schemes of the state government.”

Draupadi Ghimirey, the founder of Sikkim Viklang Sahitya Samity in Gangtok, said the step would ensure financial security for the people with physical disabilities.

“This is one of the unique steps of the state government to encourage the disabled people. The couple can live a healthy and happy life and can have a secured future,” she said.

The chief minister announced a hike of 25 per cent in the annual government grants given to social organisations, which work for the welfare and betterment of the physically-challenged children.

Chamling also said there would be an increase of 25 per cent in scholarships given to disabled students.

The sources said at present, the government doled out a monthly grant of Rs 700 for each disabled student.

“The state has also decided to build special ramps for disabled people in all government offices and buildings. We have already reserved three per cent of government jobs for the physically challenged people,” said Chamling.