Implementation of Disability Act

It may be recalled that the much desired Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act was notified in December 2016 after it received the assent of the President. Recognizing the need to have Indian laws similar to United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons  with Disabilities to which India became a signatory , this major statutory decision was taken in late 2016 and the rules for the implementation of the Act were notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in June last year.
This sensitive but vulnerable section of our society deserves due attention, compassion and love but more importantly, exercising of their rights and receiving their dues were cardinally central to the entire issue.  The society and the Government, therefore, must increasingly appreciate, realize and take tangible steps towards that end by ensuring that their rights   were protected and the said Act implemented in letter and spirit. It is unfortunate that only one third of the states of our country have notified rules under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act since it was notified for enforcement in April last year.
That even in an issue of such sensitivity, there should be no uniformity in the country reveals only wax eloquence of our political leadership. It can safely be extrapolated that the fears expressed by the section of the society under reference, are not without basis and reasons. If not, then how could only 10 out of 29 states of the country found to  having notified rules after the Act which was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in 2016 during its winter session and subsequent notification issued for implementation in April 2017. This facet of the issue came to fore during first ever 23 states National Disability Consultation on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act held last week in New Delhi.
The meet was organized by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for disabled people and supported by DFID, UK, Department of Empowerment of Persons with disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice, Mphasis, Axis Bank and others. The consultations and deliberations were centered on to examine the effectiveness, impact and progress of the Act. Contrary to expectations, it surfaced that states like Telangana, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya only have complied with the implementation of the Act, prima facie, by notifying the rules under the RPWD Act.
All the 29 states were advised to take concrete steps within six months of the commencement of the Act. It was aptly remarked that the RPWD is a Federal Act but disability is the State subject. On the one hand, we can safely boast being the only country in the world where there was a provision for reservation of jobs for the disabled people but on the other hand, perhaps there was no uniformity and evenness in thought and perception followed by action on the ground as 19 states appear to be ignorant of the Act, let alone implementing the same to the benefit of the specially able(d).
The meeting , after hectic  deliberations recognized and stressed upon the fact that disability is a cross cutting issue and had direct  relevance across and  connect with several ministries like Human Resources Development , Home Affairs, Finance, Rural and Urban Development, Health and Family Affairs, Women and Child Development. The remaining states including Jammu and Kashmir should start implementation of the Act by making laws notified and provide succor to the disabled and work towards fulfillment of their aspirations which otherwise the Act has taken care of.
It is in the fitness of things that types of disabilities stand revised and increased from just seven to twenty one.  The Government, if deemed fit, could keep on revising the types of disabilities and add more to the list. Likewise, reservation stands revised upwards in Government jobs with benchmark disabilities from 3 to 4 percent and for higher education institutes from 3 to 5 percent. A jail term of minimum five years is provided for in the Act for those who try to intimidate, deny, assault, exploit sexually and deny food and resort to other discriminations towards the section of the society under reference. Only those societies can claim to be intrinsically civilized where, besides other factors,  there is love , compassion and due regard for the specially able(d) people and , therefore, the remaining 19 states should take action in the matter,  including Jammu and Kashmir State , even if belatedly.