BENGALURU: Over 15 schools and organisations working for disabled people will be holding a protest to demand the passage of the Rights of People with Disability Bill (RPWD) in the winter session of the Parliament.
The group demands to make the new bill public or available to at least the state stakeholders for any suggestions or recommendations.
Jayashree Ramesh, founder, Academy for Severe Handicapped Autism (ASHA), one of the participating organisations, says it is high time the bill be passed. “Even if there is a delay, the reasons for it should be made public. The process and its time limit should be transparent. The lack of information about the delay and the status is making people more anxious,” says Jayashree.
Since the Bill has not been made public, she refuses to comment on it, saying “Why is there a secrecy, I do not understand. It will benefit the stakeholders. Once, the bill is passed, it will be difficult to make any changes.”
Chandrashekar Puttapa from Karnataka Rajya Vikalachethanara Rakshana Samiti (KARAAVIRS) organisation says the new Bill should guarantee and protect the rights of the disabled, their parents, caregivers and the organisations that work for the disabled people. The nBill has identified 19 more disabilities that will be included to the existing list of seven disabilities, he says. “The three per cent reservation for the employment in the government offices has been extended to five per cent.
It also recommends the formation of a commission in lines of human rights commission to look over the implementation of the rights,” he adds.
Though the new Act will identify disabilities like kidney failure, autism, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Ruby Singh, founder of Assisted Living for Autistic Adults (ALFAA) says there should be clear demarcation of the disabilities. Rubdy says, “There are 12 disabilities that are not recognised in India. Autism is not recognised independently. As a parent of an autistic child, I have no right to demand. Whatever I receive is more like a favour or a privilege. It is more like a charity.”
Also, the intellectual and physical disabilities should be identified separately, adds Ruby Singh. “The act should have three sections that lists and defines intellectual and physical disabilities separately in different chapters. Some might fall in both the categories and can have a common chapter. Hence, it should be given more thought and structured.”
G N Nagaraj, President, Karnataka State Disabled and Caregivers Federation says the delay in the passing the bill has also affected the lives of people with disability. “The disabled people become post graduates but remain unemployed. Accessibility to educational centres, employment places, the PWD act of 1995 lists the disabilities and rights but do not guarantee them.”
The groups do not know about the final draft. J P Gadkari from PARIVAR says the journey began in 2010 when the government appointed a drafting committee. “I was also a member of the committee. We submitted the draft in 2011 and the government revised it and circulated it in October 2012. It received suggestions and came out with Bill in the Rajya Sabha in 2014 after dropping many provisions. It was later referred to a standing committee from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The recommendations were given in May 2015 and the government has redrafted it. We now have no idea about the recent bill and the changes.”
The silent protest will be held on November 21. The march will start from the Mysore Bank Circle and culminate at Freedom Park.
It will be followed by submission of a memorandum to the Governor demanding the passage of the bill as soon as possible. The group has been running a campaign to collect maximum signatures in support and send it to the Prime Minister's Office. So far, they have collected over two lakh signatures offline.