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75% Travel Concession to HIV/AIDS Patients

New Delhi: For people living with HIV/AIDS, travel to hospitals and ART centres will get cheaper with the railway ministry agreeing to provide them with 75% concession even in reserved compartments.

The Centre through counsel Aman Ahluwalia told a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam on Monday that the railway ministry had also agreed to extend this concessional travel arrangement to an escort of such people.

Till now, HIV/AIDS patients were given 50% concession in unreserved coaches though patients of other diseases like cancer, leprosy and TB were given 75% concession even in reserved compartments. Both railway and food ministries agreed not to refer to such patients as HIV or AIDS infected but as persons with ‘Immune deficiency’.

This decision followed the August 13 meeting of officials from ministries of food and public distribution, railways, road and transport, law and justice and health and family welfare.

The food ministry has agreed to treat all HIV/AIDS patients living below poverty line (BPL) as ‘Poorest of poor’ and provide them with Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards to get a supply of ration from PDS stores.

As per estimates, 6.52 crore people live below the poverty line, of which the government treats 2.5 crore people as ‘Poorest of poor’.

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Source: Times of India

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