Revised Program for Physically Challenged

Revised Program for Physically ChallengedRevised Program for Physically Challenged

A comprehensive program for the physically challenged was approved recently by the government and the bill will be sent to the Majlis (parliament) for enactment.  The proposal first made to the Majlis had many deficiencies, said Ali Hemmat Mahmoudnejad, Director of Iranian Association for Disabled Rights.

The government plans to scrutinize the revised program and identify the shortcomings with the help of NGOs and the disabled, before the final bill is sent to parliament, the Persian-language daily ‘Iran’ reported.

Increasing pension for the disabled from $23 (520,000 rials) per month to a minimum of $200, as directed by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social welfare, is one of the major revisions under the new program, said Mahmoudnejad. Currently, 350,000 out of 1.4 million physically challenged people, covered by the State Welfare Organization, receive pension.

Another amendment is the exemption of compulsory military service for one family member of a differently-abled parent, be it mother or father. The previous plan considered only disabled fathers. If a man marries a woman with disabilities, he will also be exempted.

Needs of the physically challenged are not only financial, but also cultural, and this has been projected in the new program. Creating a suitable environment, early retirement, and employing the visually impaired in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (in information and technology centers and cyberspace networks) have been emphasized.

“The problem is not with legislation, but implementation,” the official said. For instance, reservation of 3% of jobs in government organizations for the disabled as envisaged earlier never happened, since it was not compulsory, but under the new program it is mandatory for public institutions to allocate 5% of the jobs for the physically challenged.

Meanwhile, Soheil Moeini, managing director of the Iranian Association of the Visually Impaired, expressed concern as some sections of the program are executable directly by the government and not legislative enactments. Therefore, “any change in government may result in disabling those sections.” Moeini is also a member of the committee on comprehensive program for the disabled.

Some forms of disability occur at birth  and some are due to genetic causes – which can be prevented through research and studies. However, it should be noted that every year 30,000 people incur disabilities in road traffic accidents in Iran.