The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has invited public feedback till July 9 on the new draft national policy on persons with disabilities (PwD), which proposes interventions in disability prevention, education, healthcare, social security and accessibility.
The draft said the current national programme on prevention of disabilities run by the Health Ministry focused on “traditional causes”, but there were other causes of disability, such as malnourishment, medical negligence, socio-cultural factors and impairment caused by disasters. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 also expanded the number of disabilities from seven to 21. The draft policy called for a comprehensive national programme on prevention that would include the disabilities added in the RPD Act and other medical conditions that are risk cases that could manifest as a disability. The draft stated that one-third of most disabilities in children were preventable, if detected early.
The policy said the States and Union Territories should add a provision on compliance with the RPD Act when granting permission or recognition to educational institutions. A module on disability should be included in MBBS and other medical courses, it said.
To make vehicles more accessible, the policy said: “The MoRTH [Ministry of Road Transport and Highways] will issue necessary guidelines for making modification in the personal vehicles being used by persons with disabilities as per requirement.”
The Draft National Policy on PwD, 2021, said a revision was required as the existing national policy on disability was drafted in 2006, after which India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, Parliament enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and the National Education Policy 2020 was adopted. A committee headed by Anjali Bhawra, secretary, the Department of Empowerment of PwD, was formed to come up with the draft. Feedback and comments can be sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by July 9, the draft said.