The Lok Sabha on 16 December 2016 passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016. The proposed legislation will replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 after its approval of the President.
The bill fulfills the government’s responsibilities under the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is a signatory. It will benefit around 2.8 crore disabled population in the country.
Highlights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016
• The bill identifies 19 conditions as disabilities against the seven disabilities identified by the existing Act.
• The new categories are - speech and language disability, specific learning disability, acid attack victim, dwarfism, muscular dystrophy and three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.
• It seeks to enhance reservation for Divyangs in government jobs from 3% to 4%.
• Under the bill, persons with at least 40% of a disability will be entitled to reservations in education and employment and preference in government schemes.
• The bill also provides for a disabled friendly environment in public spaces such as modes of transport, public offices, hospitals, etc. This provision will give legal safeguards to the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) of the Union Government.
• Strengthening of the Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities and State Commissioners of Disabilities has been proposed which will act as regulatory bodies and grievance redressal agencies.
• These authorities will also monitor implementation of the Act.
• In order to ensure its stricter compliance, it specifies punishments for the violators. The guilty will be punished with imprisonment up to six months, and/or fine of Rs 10000.
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What: Passed by Lok Sabha
When: 16 December 2016