NEW DELHI, July 22:
Only one third of India’s states have notified rules under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act since it was was notified for enforcement in April last year.
The first-ever 23-state National Disability Consultation on the RPWD Act, held on Thursday, revealed only about 10 out of the 29 states have notified rules after the Act was passed by both houses of Parliament during the winter session in 2016 and subsequently notified for enforcement in April 2017.
And then the rules for the implementation of the Act was notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in June last year.
Organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and supported by DFID, UK, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice, Mphasis, Axis Bank and Leonard Cheshire – the consultation was one of its attempts to examine the Act’s impact and progress.
“Only one third of India’s states have notified rules under the RPWD Act since it was notified. Some of the states which have notified the rules include Telangana, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya.
“This, despite the fact that all 29 states were supposed to do so, within six months of commencement of the Act,” an NCPEDP member said.
Shakuntala Gamlin, secretary DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, said RPWD is a Federal Act, but disability is a state subject.
“…The states must ensure they circulate the rules. India is one of the only countries in the world, that has a job reservation for persons with disabilities,” she said at the consultation.
Som Mittal, chairman, NCPEDP, said the consultation recognised that disability is a cross-cutting issue and has direct relevance across several ministries including Human Resource Development, Home Affairs, Finance, Rural and Urban Developments, Health and Family Affairs, Women and Child Development.
The Act provides for raising reservation in Government jobs for persons with benchmark disabilities from 3-4 per cent and in higher education institutes from 3-5 per cent.
Also every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years will have the right to free education.
Under the amended Act, the types of disabilities have been increased from seven to 21.
The newly-added types include mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, specific learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, speech and language disability, Thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack and Parkinsons disease.
Also, disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and government will have the power to add more types of disabilities to the list.
As per the Act, assaulting, insulting, intimidating, denying food to a person with disability or sexually exploiting a differently-abled woman and performing a medical procedure on such woman without her consent which may lead in termination of pregnancy will draw a jail term up to five years.
Any person who contravenes any provision of the Act will be punished with a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, July 22: