Move to repeal National Trust Act draws flak

The Kerala unit of Parivar, the National Confederation of Parents Organisations (NCPO), is fighting the Centre’s move to repeal the National Trust Act tooth and nail, to uphold the privileges enjoyed by intellectually challenged persons.

“Both our State unit and the 14 district units have already written to the Prime Minister and the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment in this regard. We are trying to create awareness among parliamentarians about the importance of the National Trust Act. If need be, parents under Parivar will send individual letters to the authorities concerned,” Sukumaran Mangalassery, national vice president of Parivar, said.

The National Trust Act was a millennium gift to the intellectually challenged in 1999 from Maneka Gandhi, then Minister for Social Justice. Under the Act, the National Trust, an autonomous body, was formed for the welfare of people with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and multiple disabilities. The trust is answerable to the Ministry, but with independent powers to implement schemes for the welfare of the intellectually challenged. The schemes include health-care, insurance, and shelter homes.

The Centre’s move to consolidate the various programmes for the differently abled comes as an austerity measure. The plan is to include all disabilities under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016. “A similar move in 2016 was thwarted when the penal provisions for the protection of the intellectually challenged under the National Trust Act were at stake. Now, the whole Act is at stake,” Mr. Sukumaran said.

Parivar is apprehensive that the intellectually challenged will not get their dues under the RPWD Act. “These children are helpless, unlike the hearing impaired or the visually impaired. They cannot think for themselves and make their voice heard. They need special attention and hence special laws,” Mr. Sukumaran said, adding that repealing the National Trust Act was equivalent to the Centre washing its hands of intellectually challenged persons, who constitute one of the weakest sections of society.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:55:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/move-to-repeal-national-trust-act-draws-flak/article32838940.ece

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