Govt okays Disabilities Bill amendments, may be tabled in Parl

The amended Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, which aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of disabled persons is likely to be tabled during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
The Union Cabinet yesterday approved the proposed amendments to the bill that seeks to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The Bill proposes to increase reservation for those with benchmark disabilities in government jobs and higher education institutes from the current three per cent to four per cent.
It also proposes to increase the types of disabilities from the existing seven to 21, which include autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy. The government will have power to add more types of disabilities to it.
The Bill also provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities. It stresses on ensuring accessibility of disabled persons in public buildings and also provides for grant of guardianship by district court.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, proposes strengthening the office of chief commissioner and state commissioners for Persons with Disabilities which will act as regulatory bodies.
“As the existing Act is not fully in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), a need was felt to have a rights-based legislation with a strong institutional mechanism,” a senior official of the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry said.
The bill was examined by the parliamentary standing committee last year. Then a Group of Ministers, headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, examined the provisions of the bill and sent their recommendations to the Prime Minister’s office