The Edition


Bill submitted seeking utilities subsidy to people with disabilities

Fathmath Shaahunaz
21 March 2017, MVT 12:46
Kaashidhoo MP Faisal Naeem pictured in a parliament sitting. PHOTO/MAJLIS
Fathmath Shaahunaz
21 March 2017, MVT 12:46

An amendment was submitted to the Disability Act seeking to provide a utilities subsidy of MVR 2,000 to every individual listed under the national Disability Register.

The bill was lobbied by Jumhoory Party lawmaker of Kaashidhoo constituency Faisal Naseem, which proposes the state to provide subsidies of MVR 1,000 each to electricity and water bills of all disabled persons.

The amendment also seeks to provide an additional MVR 500 to both the electricity and water bills for every child in a family raising more than one disabled child in the same household.

Certain conditions must be met to qualify for the state subsidy according to the bill, including:

The disabled individual must be listed in the Disability Register

The disabled person or their guardian must not have a monthly salary exceeding MVR 25,000

The National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) must compile and publicise a policy to subsidise water and electricity bills with state funds

Speaking to Mihaaru regarding the amendment, MP Faisal declared that most families with disabled members face financial struggles, stating that he has heard their complaints from various sources. He expressed hopes that the amendment will be passed by the parliament as the bill proposes a target subsidy.

Stressing the parliament’s responsibilities in aiding people with disabilities and special needs, MP Faisal said, “We should not assume that even if jobs are provided for people with disabilities, all of them will be able to perform at the same level. Saying that they have job opportunities and neglecting [the aid] the state owes them is not the way to go.”

MP Faisal had last year also lobbied an amendment to the parliament seeking the state to fund education and training to people with disabilities at their choice of school or institution which caters to the disabled. However, the amendment was eventually thrown out. The lawmaker also operates a private association named “Faisal Foundation” which conducts several social programs.

A previous attempt to increase financial aid provided by the state to the disabled was submitted by Adhaalath Party’s Makunudhoo MP Anara Naeem. According to MP Faisal, relevant parliamentary committees had reviewed the bill and it had come close to passing before it was thrown out.