Interview

Volume 7 Issue 9 - May 01, 2010

West Zone too roots for a new law!

The last leg of the Zonal Consultations on New Law versus Amendments to the Disability Act of 1995 was organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) in association with the National Association for the Blind (N.A.B.) – India in Mumbai on April 24 and 25. The West Zone Consultation saw leaders from across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc. deliberating on this issue. Dorodi Sharma and Allister Mark Syiemlieh of D.N.I.S. caught up with a few of them with the following posers:

D.N.I.S.: Are you in favour of a new law based on U.N.C.R.P.D. or amendments to the Disability Act of 1995? If yes/no, why?

What are your aspirations from the new law/amendments?

K. Ramkrishna
K. Ramkrishna

K. Ramkrishna, Honorary Secretary General, National Association of the Blind - India: I do recognize the fact that the new law addresses a number of issues as also the provisions of U.N.C.R.P.D. which were not addressed at least by us while finalizing the amendments for the Disability Act based upon the government request. I would agree that in case we have 100 plus amendments, it’s as good as a new act but I need to still talk to other national level institutions like All India Confederation of the Blind (A.I.C.B.) and National Federation of the Blind (N.F.B.).

What we aspire is definitely the assurance of right to education, right to employment, right to dignified life, and legal capacity. I do realise that U.N.C.R.P.D. provisions are very important. We must evolve a law which takes into account all the provisions of U.N.C.R.P.D. jointly and separately. That is what I expect from the new law.

Sudha Balachandra
S. Balachandra

S. Balachandra, Director General, National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped, India (N.A.S.E.O.H.): I fully agree that we need a new law altogether, which is easy to implement and which protects the rights of disabled people.

I would like to see the mechanism of implementation to be put in order. It should be seen that the law is totally implemented and that it should also have some kind of penalties or mechanisms to prevent violations.

Dr. H.T. Dholakia, President, Association for the Welfare of Persons with a Mental Handicap: I prefer one comprehensive new law that will cover all the issues of persons with

Dr. H.T. Dholakia
Dr. H.T. Dholakia

disabilities. The existing four laws on disability could become chapters in a new, umbrella law so that the needs of different degrees of disabilities are taken care of.

The new law should ensure dignity, inclusion and full participation of all people with disabilities and should be implemented phase wise for effective monitoring. It should be able to sensitise both families of people with disabilities as well as the society at large. Most importantly, it should enable people with disabilities to become full citizens of India.

M.K. Utamchandani
M.K. Utamchandani

Manju K. Utamchandani, Project Co-ordinator, Society for the Education of the Crippled (Child & Adult): A new law is better. Amendments will be very piecemeal while new law is a whole new thought.

The one thing that the new law should have is stronger implementation.

Suzette June Titus
Suzette June Titus

Suzette June Titus, Human Rights Activist, Bapu Trust Foundation: I want a new law. There are some flaws with the Disability Act. Certain things are outdated and new things that we have become aware of, we have to put them in the new law. Also I feel, if there is one law there will be a greater voice. But there should be different sub categories like clauses or sections dealing with mental health. Mental health is quite different from other disabilities and mentally ill people are still ill treated.

The rights of disabled people should be fulfilled and protected. They should be given equal opportunities and there should be no discrimination, no exploitation of people with disabilities.

S. Limaye
S. Limaye

Sandhya Limaye, Associate Professor, Centre for Disability Studies and Action, Tata Institute of Social Sciences: It is better to have a new law which will give all the rights to persons with disabilities and take care of all the lacuna of the old law.

The new law should be comprehensive. It should ensure that a separate Ministry for Disability is set up and effective implementation of all programmes and schemes takes place.

Deepali Kale, President, People with Hearing Impaired Network: I support a new law that will ensure a more inclusive society rather than going in for amendments to the old Act.

The new law should ensure accountability of the private sector. It should also improve the education system for people with hearing impairment. It should make Sign Language a recognised Indian language.

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