Srinagar, Apr 26: The ongoing baseline survey for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in J&K is being conducted by local Anganwari workers, who are not qualified or trained well to do it accurately, many specially-abled people told The Kashmir Monitor.
J&K is still relying on the 2011 Census data on PwD which puts their number at 3.61 lakh in the state.
With no fresh data, the Social Welfare Department is, since March, conducting the baseline survey under its Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to identify the number and types of persons with disabilities in the state.
However, most of the PwD are either ignorant or have not been considered by the department yet.
Even more say they had to approach the Anganwari centres on their own for the registration.
Sandhya Dhar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar locality in Jammu, suffers from cerebral palsy. The disability however hasn’t held her back as she runs a school for the specially-abled children. Sandhya told The Kashmir Monitor that no Anganwari worker approached her for the survey.
“We had absolutely no knowledge about this base-line survey. When I came to know from someone, I had to accompany every disabled person in my area for the registration. Moreover, there are many areas that are being left out and hence they will not be included in the survey,” she said.
The situation seems similar in Kashmir where people with disability are either unknown to the survey or point out problems in it.
Mohammad Ramzan, a resident of Anantnag in south Kashmir, who suffers from a neurological disorder and walks with the support of a staff, complained that his survey form was not entertained by an Anganwari worker.
“A month back, I came to know that an Anganwari worker had visited my locality to register the people with disabilities. I wonder why she didn’t come to my place when she had the data of the disabled people in my area,” said Ramzan.
He said he walked up to the concerned Anganwari centre with great difficulty but the worker there refused to take his form.
“Madam flatly refused to accept my form. I conveyed this to Javed Sahab (Chairperson Humanity Welfare Organisation Helpline) and he suggested me to submit the form directly to the nodal agency,” he said.
Aijaz Ahmad, a govt employee from Kupwara in north Kashmir, who has spine disability, expressed ignorance over the survey and is yet to get registered.
“Until last week, I was unaware about it. No Anganwari worker has approached our locality so far and I am yet to get my survey form,” adding “I was told that I will get a call but more than a week has passed and I am yet to receive one.”
Javed Tak, Chairperson Humanity Welfare Organisation Helpline, described the survey as a “flawed process”.
“The local Anganwari workers are not trained enough to do the survey. They are not sensitized and don’t do proper inquiries,” Tak said.
“Most of them (Anganwari workers) are class 10 or Class 12 pass. How do you expect them to identify cases of, for example, cerebral palsy and identify the percentage of disability? The way this survey is conducted will throw up skewed results,” he said.
Tak said that in the first phase, the disability commission, which oversees the survey, claims to have registered around 1 lakh and 12 thousand people so far.
“In one area, the Anganwari centre had registered only 10 people when there are actually 25 people with disabilities. This is how the figures fall and survey will not be accurate,” he said.
“In many areas, there are no Anganwari centres. How can the disabled people in those areas register themselves?” he said.
The Governor’s administration passed the Jammu and Kashmir Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act in 2018.
LS Polls 2019:Exit polls predict comfortable win for Modi-led NDA
New Delhi, May 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alliance government is likely to return to power after a mammoth general election that ended on Sunday, exit polls showed.
NDTV’s poll of polls said the NDA would get 302 seats, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 127 seats and other parties (Others) 114 seats.
The Republic TV exit poll gave the NDA 305 seats, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 124 and others 120. Times Now exit poll gave the BJP alliance 306 seats, the UPA 132 seats and Others 104.
News Nation gave the NDA between 282 to 290 seats, the UPA between 118 and 126 seats and Others 130 to 138 seats. Sudarshan News gave the NDA 313 seats, UPA 121 seats and Others 109+.
Analysts see the election as a referendum on Modi’s five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch in trying to win votes by projecting a tough stance against Pakistan, especially after a suicide bombing that killed more than 40 paramilitary soldiers in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir.
He has also spoken about a Rs 75,000-crore income support scheme for farmers, toilets built as part of the national cleanliness campaign Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, rural electrification scheme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and cooking gas scheme for the poor Ujjwala Yojana.
The Congress and other Opposition parties are challenging the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government over unemployment and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has also accused Modi of corruption in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France.
Voter turnout in the first six rounds was approximately 66 per cent, according to the Election Commission, compared with 66.40 per cent in the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Voting has largely been peaceful but for sporadic violence in West Bengal, where the BJP is trying to wrest seats from Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee’s All India Trinamool Congress.
In a drastic and unprecedented action, the Election Commission curtailed campaigning by a day in West Bengal on Thursday, after days of clashes in the final stretch of the election.
Pre-election poll surveys by the media indicate that no party is likely to win anything close to a majority in the 543-seat Parliament. The BJP, which won a majority of 282 seats in 2014, may need some regional parties as allies to stay in power.
The BJP will need to do well in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the most in a state. The party had won 71 of them in 2014, but this time it has been challenged by a coalition between the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, the Samajwadi Party, and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The voting on Sunday covers 59 seats in eight states and Union Territories. It also includes Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, where he had won in 2014.
Votes cast in the seven phases of elections will be counted on May 23.
New dispensation in Delhi has to address Kashmir issue: Mirwaiz
Srinagar, May 19: Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday said that Hurriyat leadership was ready to support talks between India and Pakistan provided India accepted Kashmir as a dispute.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the Hurriyat Conference here, he said, “We are not against either the people of India or development. If India and Pakistan initiate a dialogue, we are ready to support it, but India must first accept the basic reality that there can be no military solution to the Kashmir dispute”.
He said the Hurriyat Conference was against India’s policies which were presently being implemented in Kashmir.
“It is unfortunate that New Delhi has choked all means of peaceful protest in the Valley. Even pro-freedom leaders are not allowed to meet the people. How can ideas come up if all spaces are choked,” he asked.
Mirwaiz further said that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had realised that the only possible solution to the Kashmir dispute could be found through a dialogue process.
He also demanded that the Indian government should withdraw the bans imposed on different organisations in Kashmir.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, termed the present prevailing situation in Kashmir as sensitive and painful stating that there is no letup in the policies of repression and intimidations as killings, harassment and CASOs continue unabated even in this holy month of Ramadhan.
He said there were apprehensions whether the authorities would allow the seminar as last year, the then government had barred it and caged entire Hurriyat leadership. Mirwaiz said that the repressive measures are being taken to suppress the genuine voices of people of Kashmir.
Mirwaiz said that he was feeling the pain whenever any youth is martyred in government forces action or in encounters stating that that it was beyond doubt that the gun-wielding local boys were the products of the ongoing oppression and they are getting consumed in the ongoing unresolved conflict. He said emotions and repressions is driving the educated youth of Kashmir towards armed means of resistance as every scope for raising voices peacefully stand chocked.
Touted as game-changer, ambitious e-governance SWAN project yet to take off even after 13 years
Srinagar, May 19: Thirteen years on, the ambitious State Wide Area Network (SWAN) project is yet to see the light of the day in Jammu and Kashmir.
The 2005 Government of India project was aimed to synchronize all official departments of a given state through a dedicated internet connection in a closed used group. Thirteen years after the approval, the project is yet to be completed.
The government has now appointed a four member committee to conduct a thorough probe into the irregularities and lack of progress in implementation of SWAN project. Headed by Principal Secretary Transport Department, the four member committee includes Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce Department, and Secretary Higher Education. The fact finding panel have been asked to submit the report by June 6.
Project Manager, Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency, Irfan Ahmad and Public Information Officer, Imran-ul-Sofi pleaded ignorance about the status of the project. Instead of divulging details, both officers asked to contact Financial Commissioner, Information Technology, Suresh Kumar.
Kumar however could not be contacted for the comments. Additional Secretary Information Technology Vaibhav Kohli passed the buck to project managers. “You ask project managers about the same,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) functions under the Information Technology. As per the details available on its website, the SWAN project is a major core infrastructure project under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).
The project, if implemented, was expected to provide connectivity to the two state headquarters (SHQ), 20 District Headquarters (DHQ), and 152 block headquarters (BHQ) with a minimum internet speed of 2 megabytes per second.
Further, the network would have connected all state and designated government offices located within a 15 kms radius of the SHQ, all state and other designated offices located within 10 kms of each DHQ), and all state and other designated offices located within five kms of each BHQ.
In 2009, the then government had prepared a Draft Proposal Report (DPR) for Rs 106.57 crores for implementing SWAN in the state and forwarded the same to Ministry of Information Technology Government of India. The tenders were floated four different times until March 2014 but all of them were cancelled since bids received for creating SWAN were apparently high.
SWAN would have substantially reduced the overall time taken in completing administrative tasks by providing converged communications services (voice, data and video) accessible to all government departments. “It would have reduced unnecessary movement of vehicles, employees and documents”, said an official.