Aiming to empower people with various forms of disabilities, government will soon introduce a new act which will be in sync with international regulations, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik said here on Saturday.

He said the committee formed in this regard has submitted the draft of the new act and it is being studied by the government for a final decision.

“We have started the process and the committee formed in this regard has submitted the draft. It is being examined and we are consulting people. The decision would be taken soon,” he told reporters on sidelines of a function on occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Government is reviewing the existing act — Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, formed in 1995 — to incorporate new sections for empowering people with various disabilities and for providing them more opportunities in education and career.

For better accessibility of government websites and departments by the disabled, Mr. Wasnik unveiled a set of 40 templates used as public information circulars, forms, gazettes and notifications developed by IT giant Microsoft.

“Access to information is an important aspect for providing equal rights to all sections of society, including disabled people. Our Ministry has taken the lead step in making its website accessible to all people by various means.

The templates developed by Microsoft will further ease the process,” he said.

Replying to a question on ways to increase accessibility for disabled in government departments and industries, Mr. Wasnik said his ministry has written to the state governments, central government departments and various chambers of commerce and industries to take necessary steps.

“We have requested the Union Ministries, Chief Ministers and various chambers of commerce and industries to impress upon their member companies to make their websites accessible,” he said, adding that guidelines from Department of Administrative Reforms were issued only recently for this.

Earlier in his address, Mr. Wasnik stressed on the need for attitudinal changes in all section of society to break their mental barriers against disabled people.

“Biggest need is to break attitudinal barrier in mindset of society and people. It requires a herculean effort both on part of government and society. Activities to bring attitudinal changes have to be undertaken and there are several role models in disability sector for this purpose,” he said.

Observing that equal opportunity is not a welfare aspect but the right of disable people, he said government has taken a decision to organize a national festival for them in April every year.

In this festival, attempt will be to provide those working in this sector and persons with disabilities, an inter-phase with the policy makers, Parliamentarians, academicians and captain of the industry to promote a meaningful dialogue on aspects related to empowerment of disabled people, he said.

More In: National | News