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Lok Sabha passes "The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016
Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept in this bill
Types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21 in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill

The Lok Sabha today passed "The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill - 2016". The Bill will replace the existing PwD Act, 1995, which was enacted 21 years back. The Rajya Sabha has already passed the Bill on 14.12.2016.

The salient features of the Bill are:

  1. Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  2. The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities. The 21 disabilities are given below:-
  3. Blindness
  4. Low-vision
  5. Leprosy Cured persons
  6. Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)
  7. Locomotor Disability
  8. Dwarfism
  9. Intellectual Disability
  10. Mental Illness
  11. Autism Spectrum Disorder
  12. Cerebral Palsy
  13. Muscular Dystrophy
  14. Chronic Neurological conditions
  15. Specific Learning Disabilities
  16. Multiple Sclerosis
  17. Speech and Language disability
  18. Thalassemia
  19. Hemophilia
  20. Sickle Cell disease
  21. Multiple Disabilities including deafblindness
  22. Acid Attack victim
  23. Parkinson's disease

iii. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included. Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability. The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.

iv. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.

v. Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.

vi. Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education, government jobs, reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.

vii. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.

viii. Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.

  1. For strengthening the Prime Minister's Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.
  2. Reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability.
  3. The Bill provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision – making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.

      xii. Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy making bodies at the Central and State level.

    xiii. Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has been strengthened who will now be assisted by 2 Commissioners and an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 11 members drawn from experts in various disabilities.

     xiv. Similarly, the office of State Commissioners of Disabilities has been strengthened who will be assisted by an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 5 members drawn from experts in various disabilities.

  1. The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act.

     xvi. District level committees will be constituted by the State Governments to address local concerns of PwDs. Details of their constitution and the functions of such committees would be prescribed by the State Governments in the rules.

     xvii.  Creation of National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities. The existing National Fund for Persons with Disabilities and the Trust Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will be subsumed with the National Fund.

   xviii.  The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law.

       xix. Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.

  1. The New Act will bring our law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. This will fulfill the obligations on the part of India in terms of UNCRD. Further, the new law will not only enhance the Rights and Entitlements of Divyangjan but also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and true inclusion into the Society in a satisfactory manner.
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India has a vibrant cultural history: PM Modi
Gurudev Tagore popularised traditional folk art and dance forms as the country's culture: PM
Gurudev Tagore considered entire world as his family. Wherever he went, he was welcomed affectionately: PM

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organisation of Bangladesh) and Shri Ram Vanji Sutar respectively, at a function held here today. The awardees were selected by a jury headed by the Prime Minister and includes Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Election Commissioner Shri N Gopalaswami and the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Shri Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that culture is the lifeblood of any nation as it gives identity to it. He said, “India's rich cultural heritage was preserved in the face of colonisation and foreign invasion.” This was possible due to the contribution of people like Gurudev Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, he added. 

PM said that India's multi-dimensional heritage was well reflected in the works of Gurudev. Rabindra Sangeet has all the colours of our country and it is not bound by a language. He called Tagore's teachings timeless and said that the world stands to learn a great deal from his works. “He recognised the folk arts and traditional dances as indicative of Indian culture," PM said.

Exponent of Manipuri dance  Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh was given the award for the year 2014.  Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh was given the award for 2015 for its role in the promotion of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s works and Bangla arts. Renowned sculptor and scholar Shri Ram Vanji Sutar was given the award for 2016.

Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony was instituted by the Government from 2012 during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. It is awarded annually and carries an amount of One Crore rupees, a citation in a Scroll, a Plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft or handloom item.  

 

 

Click here to read PM's speech