Sunday, 16 February 2014

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill Opposed

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill Opposed

Staff Reporter

‘Definition of the blindness in this Bill is not clear and it will create more confusion during certification of blindness and low vision’

Activists working for rights of physically challenged have protested against efforts to pass the ‘Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014’ in current form.

Adviser of Milton Charitable Foundation for the Visually Handicapped (MCFVH) Madhaba Kumar Bisoyi, who also happens to be the assistant regional director of the IGNOU, said definition of the blindness in this Bill is not clear and it would create more confusion during certification of blindness and low vision.

He added that Section 33 (2) of this bill is also affecting the rights of physically challenged by mentioning that the employer is allowed to appoint a person without disability after one year, if the vacancy could not be filled by a person with disability, which was not allowed earlier.

President of the MCFVH Harsha Chandra Rath alleged that in the name of empowering the differently-abled through this Bill, the government was planning to curtail their rights.

He said in the existing Persons with Disability Act 1995, there is provision of age relaxation of 10 years, which has been reduced to five years in the current Bill for Group C & D jobs.

He felt this provision will affect their social as well as financial empowerment.

Academician Rajnish Kumar Arya alleged that that the current Bill violates the United Nations Charter of Rights Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Being a signatory of this charter, it is India’s obligation to compile a Bill in accordance to the charter, he said. According to him, in the new Bill several issues related to rights of physically challenged had been ignored and the most important right, which is right to participation in political and public life, either diluted or ignored in this Bill, he said

Ranjan Kumar Biswal, general Secretary of the MCFVH expressed his protest against the manner in which the new Bill was drafted.

“For a Bill that was touted to be framed by an inclusive process, the version of the Bill cleared by the Cabinet was made available to the public just a fortnight before the proposed parliamentary session which seeks its introduction and passing” he said.

He added that Section 10 of the proposed Bill deals with “accessibility in voting” and mentions that the Election Commission of India and State Election Commission shall ensure that all polling stations are accessible to persons with disabilities and that all materials related to the electoral process are easily understandable by and accessible to them. “This is seriously limiting the scope of Article 29 of UNCRPD, which recognises the right and opportunity to stand for elections”, Mr Biswal said.


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