The Tamil Nadu unit of the National Federation of the Blind has appealed to the Union Government to place the draft of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Bill, 2013 before the Parliamentary Standing Committee and incorporate the changes suggested by the differently-abled groups.
“We want a differently-abled person to head the National Committee for the Differently-Abled as such a person alone can understand the issues that we face on daily,” Muthuselvi, Secretary, All India Confederation of the Blind, told the media recently
She said Draft Bill coming up in the Rajya Sabha has five per cent reservation for all kinds of disabilities with 0.5 per cent each to partial and complete visual impairment. But the Federation has been pressing for six per cent reservation with a clear definition of 1 per cent each for partial and complete impairment, she added.
According to her, Section 3 (3) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 states that ‘discrimination is allowed if the impugned act is appropriate to achieve an legitimate aim’. It should be removed, so that 70 million disabled people across the country are not deprived of their existing rights, she said.
The Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD Act 1995) was in tune with the United Nations Convention on Rights for the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and it was amended in 2007 with relaxation in the procedures for application of the disability certificate. Since 2011, there have been dialogues with the government to draft a new bill to ensure social, economic and accessibility rights for the differently-abled.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 is a watered down version of the 2011 draft with no legal bindings on the Central or State government in the fields of education, job security, legal recourse and grievance redressal. It has been recently uploaded on the website of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment without any discussion on the Bill ahead of the Parliament session.
Members from differently-abled rights organisation held a protest at Satyamurthy Bhavan last Friday to press the demand.