Not another half-baked law
- Sreesanth, Jiju Janardhan lived in independently booked rooms: Cops
- India to convey concerns over Ladakh incursion to Chinese Premier
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Maxwell falls early in stiff run-chase
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
- Rajapaksa slams Tamil diaspora for lack of support in reconciliation process
NAC recommendations for the new disabilities bill create confusion
Disability policy reform is not new to India and the most significant reform exercise in the history of the disability sector is under way. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2011, was prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJE) last year. This bill is intended to bring the disability rights discourse into the 21st century in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India has signed and ratified. Unfortunately, ever since it was drafted in June last year, the bill has divided the disability sector and was even rumoured to have been rejected by the MOSJE, responsible for its drafting in the first place.
The wrangling in the disability sector brought the bill to the attention of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which recently gave its recommendations on the bill. The NAC recommendations are timely since the bill has yet to be taken up by Parliament and there is still time for the MOSJE to rework the bill to ensure that it is legally sound. While the NAC has made some positive suggestions, it has failed to address certain critical issues — possibly due to the divergence within the disability sector. It also takes some inexplicable, contradictory positions.
The NAC correctly identifies that the detailed definition of disability in the bill is medical in nature, which means persons with disabilities are considered patients at a fundamental level. The NAC recommends that disability be defined in terms of the social model, which states that social barriers form the primary reason why persons with disabilities cannot exercise their rights on an equal basis with others. The implications of this change are profound because it means remedies will aim to remove social barriers to make society inclusive rather than use medical intervention to achieve the same objective. Similarly, the NAC correctly recommends that families with disabled members be given higher weightage during surveys for BPL and food insecure households. It also recommends preferential access to all poverty alleviation and social security programmes, including social security allowance to households with disabled members. In addition, the NAC states that destitute, the homeless and the poor who are disabled, as well as single women and aged women with disabilities, must be given specific social protection over and above any blanket social security for all disabled persons.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations