NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways has made formal changes in concession certificate issued to people with disabilities clearly listing out how they be addressed.
The move comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion in 2015 that persons with disabilities be addressed as ‘divyangs’ (divine bodies) instead of ‘viklang’. Interestingly, it took the Railways almost two years to formally make the changes in travel concession forms issued to people with disabilities.
As per the ministry order, blind be replaced with persons with visual impairment with total absence of sight, deaf and dumb be replaced with persons with hearing and speech impairment totally and physically-challenged as persons with disabilities (divyang jan). The ministry has asked the concerned department to make necessary changes in the proforma for concession certificate. The order comes into being from February 1.
“The idea was that these words were derogative and we need to treat people with disabilities respectfully. We felt that changes in this regards be made on the record by changing written performa for issuing disability certificates to avail travel concession,” said a senior Railway ministry official.
Railways offers 53 concessions to passengers in various categories like divyang, senior citizens, students and defence personnel among others that amounts to Rs 1,600 crore annually.
Hearing and speech impairment: 50% in second, sleeper and first class
Visual impairment: 75% in second sleeper, first class, AC chair car & AC 3-tier; 50% in AC 2-tier and AC first classes
Divyang jan: 75% in second, sleeper, first, AC chair car & AC 3-tier; 50% in AC 2-tier and AC first classes