Blind by birth, 33-year-old Deepak Daware is the sole breadwinner of his family in Nanded district of Maharashtra.
Deepak dropped out of college, ignorant of how to continue his education with his vision impairment. He then took up menial jobs for the sake of sustenance.
Struggling with an unstable and low income from selling knick-knacks, he applied for disability pension under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan Yojana.
But the officials declared him ineligible for the provision as his yearly income exceeded the cap of INR 21,000.
Recently the annual income limit for the said scheme was revised to INR 50,000 and Deepak made a second trip to the district office to claim his pension.
Unaware and insensitive officials simply turned him away yet again, denying any such revision issued by the state department. Denied of his rights, Deepak asked Eyeway to intervene.
The Eyeway counselor provided him with the government resolution stating the revised provision and asked him to submit a copy of the same along with his disability pension application.
All paper work in order, Deepak and five of his visually impaired friends will soon receive the first installment of their disability pension.
Happy to have helped them, Eyeway didn’t stop at that. Our counselor identified job vacancies based on Deepak’s present qualifications. He was encouraged to complete his graduation simultaneously, so he can seek better employment opportunities in the future.
How long can we expect visually impaired people to continue relying on piece-meal offerings by the government?
In line with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, there is an urgent need to steer people away from a ‘reservations-based’ mindset towards a more ‘empowering’ approach by providing them with equal opportunities of education and employment.