Bill on quota for disabled in coming session

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi seen during the inauguration of ''Samarth 2014- Celebrating Diversity'' in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi seen during the inauguration of ''Samarth 2014- Celebrating Diversity'' in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium  

The government will table for passage in the upcoming Parliament session a new bill for the disabled persons that provides for five per cent reservation in public sector jobs.

Inaugurating ‘Samarth-2014’, a programme organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on Wednesday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the Disability Act of 1995 was being amended to meet the norms of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. “Union Cabinet has given its nod to the amendments. I have full faith that we will be able to pass it in the next session,” she said.

The Union Cabinet had approved last month the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.

The bill covers a variety of issues relating to the disabled persons such as physical, mental and multiple disabilities.

Ms. Gandhi said there was a need to link the issues of the disabled with the mainstream of the society and the government and make their development a key component of policies. “It is the solidarity of the disabled that should be given credit if the government and society has made some progress providing the disabled people opportunities,” she added.

"There is a need to develop self confidence among the disabled... we have to still make a lot of efforts to ensure their human rights and freedom," she said, while noting that the issues of the disabled are now treated only as medical issues.

Pointing out that the social model had now replaced the medical model of disability, Ms Gandhi said the disabled persons should not be kept aloof from the society. “We will have to ensure that they make their place within the mainstream of the society and become its integral part."

In her address, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja underlined the role of media in creating awareness on disability issues.

The Minister added that it has been our experience that persons with disabilities given proper support and right environment have excelled in various fields, like education, employment, art, painting, music and dance. “If we look at people like Rajeev Bagga (hearing/speech impaired), a National Badminton Champion in the early 1990s, Garimella Subramanium (visually impaired), a senior journalist with the Hindu, Prabha Shah (hearing/speech impaired), a painter/artist, Sudha Chandran (Orthopedically challenged), a dancer/actress, we are compelled to think differently.”

There is hope, there is ability, there are pathways that can take us forward, there are solutions that can help us break free of the strangehold of challenges. Disability is thus a matter of culture, attitude and not physical impairment, the Minister said.

More than 280 participants with disabilities from all over India will perform in the various events organized, such as National Programme of Dance and Music in which 95 items will be presented, a day-long Film Festival of 21 films on 16th January on Disability related themes and 5 exhibitions titled Colours of Ability displaying 60 art works, 9 Abilympics Champions, 21 ‘Disabled Artisans and craftsman in action’, and products made by them along with enabling aids and assistive devices for PwDs.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 2:48:14 PM |

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