Current Style: Standard

Current Size: 100%

Saving them from harassment and fraud

Persons with vision impairment are perceived to be dependent and non-contributing members of the society. The stigma around disability prevents us from thinking positively about persons with blindness. They remain deprived of opportunities of education, employment, social inclusion, or any form of independence. Given their vulnerability and marginalization, they are often made out to be easy targets of discrimination and fraud.
Twenty-five-year-old Rajesh Ivane lives in Betul, Madhya Pradesh. He was born blind into a financially weak family. Due to lack of good schools in his hometown, Rajesh was sent off to study in a special school in Maharashtra. After completing Class VIII, he opted for distance education to finish his schooling.
Rajesh could not pursue higher studies due to financial constraints, and he sought employment opportunities within the government reserved quota for persons with disabilities. While filling out job applications, faced a technical challenge as his mother’s name was misspelt in his school certificate, and this did not tally with the information on his Aadhar card. 
He contacted Eyeway for support, and the counselor asked him to submit an application with the HSC board. Rajesh was however asked to pay INR 1900 as against the official fee of INR 900. The counselor immediately alerted Rajesh and advised him to seek a receipt for the requested amount by the concerned official. This deterred the authority from cheating him on grounds of blindness, and Rajesh’s issue was resolved without an additional bribe.
Thirty-five-year-old Santram from Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh is totally blind. He works as a table player in a professional group of 12. He has a savings account in a Grameen bank where he periodically receives his disability pension. Santram wanted to apply for a PAN card but the Jan Seva Kendra denied him the service stating that persons with vision impairment cannot hold a PAN card. 
When he contacted the Eyeway Helpdesk, the counselor assured him that anyone with or without a vision impairment was entitled to have a PAN card. When he reconnected with the Jan Seva Kendra with this information, he was asked to pay an extra fee over and above the official amount of INR 150.
The counselor ensured Santram that he should only pay the due amount and insist on getting a receipt for the extra charges which the officials obviously could not provide. He successfully received his PAN card within a week.
In the current digital era, all rules and provisions are easily available online and any flouting of rules can also be reported and challenged. But most people believe that persons with vision impairment aren’t in a position to voice their rights, hence make them easy targets for harassment.
Team Eyeway

Facebook comments