Delhi government to increase stipend for leprosy patients


New Delhi : Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Friday said her government will increase the stipend for leprosy patients so that their families can be supported better.

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“In the upcoming budget session in March, the proposal to increase the stipend for leprosy patients from Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,800 will be passed. It will ensure that the families and indeed the patient himself or herself is better supported,” Dikshit said at an event organised at her residence on the occasion of Anti-Leprosy Day.

Scores of children and others who either belong to families who have at least one member suffering from leprosy or having been treated for the disease themselves, gathered in the lawns of Dikshit’s residence for a function to observe the day.

Organised by the NGO Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (SILF), the event saw kids singing songs of inspiration to go on with life despite the challenges and discrimination that they face and a street play sending out the message that it is wrong to discriminate people who have suffered from leprosy.

“The people gathered here today come mainly from Tahirpur and Seemapuri areas of east Delhi which are considered leper colonies. Most of them have been treated, yet they face discrimination which is simply not right,” said Vineeta Shankar, director of SILF.

“Today is Anti-Leprosy Day as well as Martyrs’ Day. It would have made Gandhiji extremely happy that leprosy is curable. On this day therefore we just want to urge people not to discriminate against these people, but accept them so that they do not have to turn to begging on the streets for a livelihood,” she added.