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Committee to draft New Disability Act: M.S.J.E. stumbles, yet again

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Just when it looked like the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) was finally making the right moves, it stumbled yet again. On one hand, it formed a Committee to draft a new Disability Act in line with U.N.C.R.P.D. On the other hand, it violated the basic tenet of the Convention – that of letting disabled people take their own decisions. The 27 member Committee includes ONLY 3 people with disabilities. This, for once, has left the entire Indian disability sector disappointed and anxious.

“We are greatly pained to find that the experts and N.G.O.s nominated to the Committee constitute a very small, almost negligible segment of the actual user groups,” said A.K. Mittal, President, All India Confederation of the Blind.

“B.P.A., Ahmedabad and H.R.L.N., Delhi are not organizations of the blind. Only three N.G.O.s of the blind from India are recognized by the World Blind Union as national N.G.O.s, yet none of these organizations is given representation in the new Committee,” he added. J.P. Gadkari of Parivaar also expressed disappointment at the choice of members. “The members of the Executive Council of Parivaar are concerned over the non-inclusion of any representative of parents associations / organisations of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” he said.

Rajiv Rajan of Disability Law Unit – South has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister expressing their displeasure.

“This under representation of disabled people in the Committee completely flouts the spirit “Nothing about us without us” of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, he said.

Click here to read M.S.J.E.’s Office Memorandum