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Minister makes an effort to bring back disabled members into the Committee

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Mukul Wasnik, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment seems to have finally woken up to the fact that all may not be well with the Committee he constituted to draft a new disability law. He is now making an effort to bring back the Members who had recently resigned from the Committee. In fact, he even went to the extent of going to Chennai to meet one such Member. Not only that, he is also meeting various Delhi based disabled people to understand more about the demand for one comprehensive disability law.

Wasnik met G. Syamala, Executive Director, Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (A.A.D.I.) on January 18 in New Delhi and asked her to reconsider her decision to resign. He said the she should try to convince the Committee of her point of view or try to be convinced by their’s but not resign.

He also asked her why the issue of one comprehensive law was not brought to his notice earlier. “I informed him that the mandate was always thought to be drafting a comprehensive disability law keeping in mind the letter and spirit of U.N.C.R.P.D. and not as myopic as to only replace the Disability Act of 1995,” Syamala said.

Wasnik also refuted the claim of a few Committee Members that he is supporting a multiple law regime. He told Syamala that he is yet to make up his mind on the whole debate of one comprehensive law versus multiple legislations. He said that Committee is just making a draft. Once it finishes its work, there will be several steps before a new disability bill can come up and this issue could be dealt with then.

In his meeting with Rajiv Rajan on January 22 in Chennai, Wasnik made more or less the same remarks that he made in his meeting with Syamala.

But the policy of dialoguing seems to have been restricted to the more vocal Members who had quit! No overtures were made towards Bhargavi Davar, a self advocate representing the mental health sector and A.S. Narayanan, Secretary, National Association of the Deaf. While, someone from Wasnik’s office did call Davar, she was not in a position to attend the call and requested him to call back. A second call never came. Narayanan was not so lucky. Since he did not vocalise his complaints against the Committee as much, Wasnik probably did not feel it was necessary to placate his concerns.