January 2015 \ Interviews \ Interview Cabinet Minister
"We welcome all NRIs who want to join the social justice movement"

Interview with Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot Taking time out from Parliament, Cabinet Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot spoke to Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty and spelt out the challenges before him in the coming months

By Sayantan Chakravarty

What steps are being taken to safeguard the interest of weaker sections of society, including the handicapped and mentally retarded?

Unfortunately, in our country either from birth or from later a lot of people become mentally or physically handicapped either due to illness or malnutrition. Some people are mentally retarded while others are deaf, dumb, lame or have other physical handicaps. To prevent these we should either take precaution in pre–natal stage, like we have vaccines to prevent polio and have enough facilities to provide medical facilities on time during illness. As most of the problems arise from malnutrition, nutritious food should be provided to children from initial stage. We should take these measures early on to prevent handicaps but even if people are handicapped our Ministry runs clinics and care homes on district levels. Although, we do not have them in all the district but we do have them in 1/3rd of the districts and we also have their branches in state level and central level. These branches provide mental and physical treatment, hearing aid for the deaf, prosthetics for hand and leg handicaps.

NRIs who wish to be a part of this change?

Everyone believes that “Necessity is the mother of invention”, we do feel this kind of requirement. If someone wants to support and be a part of the change, the Government is surely view that favourably. This is the reason why the Government has introduced FDI in various different fields, the reach as well as the percentage of the same has also increased over time. All the NRIs who wish to be associated with our activities, they can either get affiliated with some NGO or get involved in their activities. They can also directly get involved with the Government in form of partnership or by providing assistance. Also, if any NRI comes up with a proposal of adding to our means, we do welcome that and will continue to do that in future.

Our country has a huge problem of beggars. Are there some steps being taken to eradicate beggary or divert them in some organizations?

Our ministry has tried to identify these people and remove them from a life of beggary. Mainly this work is done by state Government but even central Government lends their full support to the cause. But like I mentioned, that in case of drug-addict rehabilitation programme it is very difficult to recognize addicts, and put them in camps to train them.