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Volume 6 Issue 9October 15, 2009
- The ‘lesser’ among the less privileged
Mental illness in India has a huge taboo, ignorance and terrifying superstitions attached to it. The memory of Erwadi, where 27 women with mental illness were charred to death as they were chained to their beds while the building they were in caught fire is long forgotten. While the fate of mentally ill people continues to be dismal, Dorodi Sharma of D.N.I.S. takes a hard look at the debate raging in the Indian disability sector whether or not mental illness should be included in the National Trust Act.
- “Everyone who needs support should be included in the National Trust Act”: Poonam Natarajan
The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities has been in the eye of quite a few storms recently. From ensuring that an adamant Chandigarh administration takes onus of the mentally retarded rape victim to the debate on including mental illness in the National Trust Act. Poonam Natarajan, Chairperson, National Trust clears the air in an interview with Dorodi Sharma of D.N.I.S.
- “Mental illness is not a disability, it is a disease”: J.P. Gadkari
As the cry to include mental illness in the National Trust Act gets louder, organizations working with mental retardation, autism and cerebral palsy, etc. are vehemently opposing it. In an interview with Dorodi Sharma of D.N.I.S., J.P. Gadkari, President, Parivaar, the parents’ body for intellectually disabled people, gets candid on why they do not want mental illness in the National Trust Act.
- Barrier free Delhi - Ministry more keen on a quick fix
D.N.I.S. News Network: Under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office (P.M.O.), the Ministry of Urban Development seems to have finally woken up to creating a barrier free Capital city. But whether they woken up fully is another story altogether! From the way rushed meetings are being convened and Committees being formed without proper representation from the sector, it seems the Ministry is more keen on a quick fix than a long term vision or plan.
- Finally, Chandigarh Administration comes around
D.N.I.S. News Network: “Chandigarh is not Vatican,” said an angry Javed Abidi, Convenor, Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.). After weeks of playing a ping - pong match with the National Trust over the guardianship of a mentally retarded girl and her unborn child, Chandigarh administration seems to have finally realized this. They have now agreed to assume full responsibility of the girl and her child. This decision was taken by the Administrator of Chandigarh, General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues in a meeting on October 5, after Home Secretary Ram Niwas continually dragged his feet from assuming the State’s responsibility.
- M.S.J.E. continues to drag its feet on web access
D.N.I.S. News Network: More than half a year has passed by since the Ministry of Information Technology revised the web access guidelines mandating all websites in public domain to be W.C.A.G. 2.0 compliant. But Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.), the nodal ministry for disability and the national institutes and bodies under it are seemingly competing against each other to be the last to wake up to web accessibility!
- N.A.D. decries non - implementation of XIth Plan
D.N.I.S. News Network: National Association of the Deaf (N.A.D.) has expressed its extreme disappointment at the non - implementation of the promises made to the deaf community in the XIth Five Year Plan. In a letter to Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Vice Chairman, Planning Commission, A.S. Narayanan, Secretary, N.A.D. said that it was an indefensible betrayal and callous disregard of government’s own mandate.
- West Bengal leads in employing disabled people under N.R.E.G.A.
D.N.I.S. News Network: West Bengal is the leading State in providing employment to people with disabilities under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (N.R.E.G.A.). Latest reports suggest that West Bengal provided employment to 29,714 disabled people for the current financial year, 2009 -10. It was followed by Chhattisgarh which employed 13,763 disabled people. Bihar was the worst performer with a figure of only 38.
- Access Audit of Election Booths
D.N.I.S. News Network: In a step to encourage active participation from civil society groups towards making the Assembly polls accessible, the Election Commission (E.C.) accepted a voluntary offer from certain disability sector professionals and activists for access audits of polling booths in Mumbai. According to Debashish Chakrabarty, Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra, the results may be used by E.C. for its future endeavors.
- Third time around, hearing impaired Maniram makes it to I.A.S.
D.N.I.S. News Network: Maniram Sharma, a hearing impaired person, cleared the elite Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) examinations three times - 2005, 2006 and 2009. But despite this he was not given an I.A.S. posting as only the partially hearing impaired were eligible while Sharma was fully hearing impaired. Finally, this October he was inducted into the I.A.S.
- U.N.C.R.P.D. in three more Indian languages
D.N.I.S. News Network: In order to create awareness on U.N.C.R.P.D., there is an increasing demand for its availability in Indian languages. Keeping that in mind, N.C.P.E.D.P. in collaboration with the British High Commission has undertaken an initiative to translate the Convention into three regional languages. Recently, the Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu versions have been made available
- Call for papers for Techshare India 2010 announced
D.N.I.S. News Network: Call for papers for ‘Techshare India 2010 - Bridging the Barriers’ has been announced and will be open till October 30. A wide variety of submissions are being encouraged covering all areas of disability and technology. The papers will be reviewed and selected by the Organising Committee consisting of Shilpi Kapoor, Dipendra Manocha, Shivani Gupta and Arun Rao.
- Signs of changing times
D.N.I.S. News Network: Television viewers in India got a taste of a different kind of programming recently in ‘Dus Ka Dum’ and ‘C.I.D.’, two popular shows on Sony Entertainment Television. While ‘Dus Ka Dum’, a game show hosted by Bollywood star Salman Khan had youth with hearing impairment as guests on the show, C.I.D.’s storyline had a hearing impaired girl who communicates to the investigators in Sign Language about a crime.
- Demand for accessible hotel rooms on the rise
D.N.I.S. News Network: The Ministry of Tourism in July, had released its guidelines which required all hotels to become disabled friendly by September 2010. Hoteliers are now saying that the demand for accessible rooms has gone up considerably.
- Registration of special category vehicles caught in red tape
D.N.I.S. News Network: In May this year, the government made it mandatory for registration of all vehicles under the special category of ‘invalid carriages’ anywhere in the country, to be approved by the Department of Road Transport in Delhi. It now takes months for disabled people to get their vehicles registered, something which earlier used to take not more than a day!