Unconditional Cash Transfer Program for Persons with Disabilities was the first ever initiative targeted towards the most vulnerable individuals indulged in a dual risk of being poor and disabled. This program aims at not only addressing income and capacity gaps of the poor people with disabilities in Punjab and upgrading their livelihood, but also equipping them with different technical trainings and interest-free loans to make them active members of the society.
The targeting mechanism used in this program is the Proxy Means Test (PMT) score of 20 or below as per National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) and certification of disability by authorized Medical Assessment Boards. PSPA is providing Rs. 2,000/month for PWDs who are incapacitated or not able to work and Rs.1,500/month for the PWDs who are able to work, as per the assessment of Medical Assessment Boards. The program currently provides monthly cash assistance to over 63,697 disabled in Punjab.
Interest-Free Loans for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
As per its mandate, the Authority is designing programs, formulating policies, suggesting interventions and guiding Government departments and agencies for safeguarding the rights of the poor and the vulnerable, besides ensuring equitable allocation of resources. For the said purpose, PSPA has designed two graduation schemes that serve as "exist strategy" of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) from unconditional cash transfer support.
Graduation Program for Urban Areas
To engage the PWDs in Punjab in meaningful pursuit of livelihood, Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA) in collaboration with Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) has launched an Income Generation Scheme for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) titled “Graduation and Income Generation Scheme for Persons with Disabilities in Punjab”. PSPA Board approved the scheme with an allocation of Rs. 270.417 million. The scheme aims to provide interest free loans to the persons with disabilities in Punjab to establish their small business to generate income on sustainable basis. Punjab Small Industries Corporation and Akhuwat are the implementing partners of PSPA for this income generation scheme. Under this scheme interest free loans up-to Rs. 50,000/- are being provided to the PWDs and since its launch in October, 2017 Rs. 128.58 million have been disbursed among 5,612 disabled people. Keeping in view the fact that the response of the disabled population is much encouraging therefore, to keep this historically marginalized group motivated the limit of loan under income generation scheme for PWDs has been increased from Rs. 20,000/- to Rs. 50,000/- subject to the business plan of the applicant so that the beneficiaries of the scheme may keep them engaged in self-employment. All people with disabilities in Punjab, are entitled to receive interest-free loans under this scheme for setting up their own businesses.
Graduation Program for Rural Areas
The Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA) has been mandated to consolidate and monitor all welfare programs in Punjab. PSPA has also initiated programs for productive inclusion of the persons with disabilities (PWDs). Consequent to approval of the PSPA Board, a graduation scheme aimed at female rural beneficiaries of UCT for PWDs program was launched in May 2017. Initially, funds to the tune of Rs. 458.8 million out of total cost of Rs. 600 million were transferred to the Livestock & Dairy Development Department(L&DD) during March 2017. So far, L&DD Department has utilized Rs. 458.80 million. 1,763 animals have been distributed amongst the eligible beneficiaries of UCT for PWDs. During the current financial year 2018-19, PSPA will be transferring the balance funds of Rs. 141.8.00 million to Live-Stock & Dairy Development (L&DD) Department for provision of animals/live stocks to the remaining eligible beneficiaries of the scheme. Since January 2018, the beneficiaries of this Asset Transfer Scheme stand graduated from unconditional cash transfers.
PSPA has also launched a program in collaboration with Livestock & Dairy Development Program to provide asset transfer (livestock) to persons with disabilities (PWDs). Meant for disabled women beneficiaries of the UCT for PWDs Program living in rural areas, the scheme is a graduation program which provides exit strategy to the UCT for PWDs Program beneficiaries from the monthly unconditional cash transfer assistance and enable them to earn their living by means of the livestock being given to them under the Graduation and Asset Transfer Scheme for PWDs. 2,500 PWDs, who are previously registered for UCT for PWDs Program, would benefit from the scheme. Around 1750 PWDs have already been delivered the cattle heads. Female beneficiaries of age cohort of 35 to 55 years are eligible for receiving this livestock transfer, subject to their ability to look after these animals, as well as their compliance with certain conditions. The Livestock & Dairy Development Department has also been engaged for professional support and execution of the project besides working as the fund manager for Rs.600 million scheme.