CHENNAI: Activists are opposing a new proposal that has been tabled to merge the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD) in Chennai with the Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (IEPID) in Secunderabad. They say new schemes for those with multiple disabilities may reduce by a huge margin if the merger takes place.
NIEPMB deals with 21 kinds of disabilities recognised by the Rights to Persons with Disabilities Act-2016 while the institution in Secunderabad deals with only one kind of disability. As per the instructions of Niti Aayog, the government has been trying to merge these two institutions. However, there is no scientific reason for merging a 21-disability institute with a single disability one, say activists. “NIEPMD is registered under Tamil Nadu Society Act. If the merger happens, its legality will be gone since the society would be dissolved.
As per 2011 census, 7.9 per cent of people have multiple disabilities. The population of the intellectually-disabled is way less,” said advocate Dr SM Abinaya. She has sent a petition to MP Thirumavalavan, who has forwarded it to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister’s Office. She will soon file a PIL on the issue.
“Previously, we had executive council meetings. The State’s Joint Secretary to Department of Empowerment of PwDs would take care of all the projects. The composite regional centres would propose a project and it will be passed by NIEPMD. However, if the society is dissolved, the State will new longer have the power,” she added.
Following the merger, a new society will be formed in Delhi making Secunderabad institute as the lead body and the director of that body would hold all authority. When Tamil Nadu submits its proposal, there might be a chance of disagreement.
“The Secunderabad institute may not know the importance of many policies, especially since they work with only one kind of disability,” said VK Prasad, a disability rights activist. NIEPMD officials refused to comment on the issue and said the Centre will take a call.