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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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Honouring the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi
February 21, 2019
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I believe that Mahatma Gandhi is still as relevant in today’s world as he was in his lifetime: Narendra Modi

Ever since he took over as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has been on a mission to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, principles and teachings are held aloft, both in India and abroad, through his speeches and actions.

The latest in the series, was the unveiling of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, on 21 February 2019. The vision of Narendra Modi has ensured that the Yonsei University, a great citadel of learning, will now have our Bapuji inspiring thousands of young learners. This unveiling of bust at South Korea is just one of the many initiatives taken by the Prime Minister to carry forward the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Over the past four years, from Brisbane to Hannover, from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, the Prime Minister has unveiled busts or statues of Bapu all around the world, creating a lasting awareness about the Mahatma, overseas.

Modi also brought the Sabarmati Ashram, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, to the forefront of Indian diplomacy. In his presence, key global leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have visited Sabarmati Ashram to pay homage to the Mahatma. In fact, the Chinese President described his visit to Sabarmati Ashram as one of the most memorable and enlightening moments of his life. The pictures of the Prime Minister and various world leaders using the spinning wheel, brought back memories of Gandhi’s use of the spinning wheel as a symbol of self-reliance.

 

In India, the light of Gandhi’s teachings were kept alive, through memorials dedicated to the Father of Nation and well thought out schemes encapsulating his teachings.

The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, representing the spirit and energy of one of the defining moments of India’s freedom struggle was dedicated by the Prime Minister on January 30, 2019.

Modi’s pet project, Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan, inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, was launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 in New Delhi. While launching this scheme, PM had said “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019”.

Thanks to Narendra Modi, Swachhta has become a mass movement, reminiscent indeed of the days of Mahatma Gandhi, when the quest for freedom had become a mass movement. For the past four and half years, the scheme has been transforming the length and breadth of India. It has resulted in heightened awareness among the general public. States have competed vigorously in the race to become Open Defecation Free, and India is now close to achieving 100 percent rural sanitation coverage.

Khadi was a subject that Mahatma Gandhi brought to the core of India’s consciousness during the freedom struggle. The interest in Khadi had waned since those heady days. But it has been revived by the Prime Minister, especially through his speeches. Modi used his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, to encourage people to buy Khadi products and thereby emphasizing on the revival of Khadi and cottage industries. Modi’s call had such an impact that the sale of Khadi products showed a quantum jump.

Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary is being celebrated as a two year event, with many programmes outlined to celebrate the occasion. To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) was held in New Delhi from 29 September to 2 October, 2018. The 4-day event saw ministers and sanitation sector leaders from all around the world participating and share their experiments and experiences.


Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn ‘Vaishnav Jan To’, went global, with artists from over 124 countries contributing musically to it. The project created a global appeal to a beautiful Indian bhajan.

A Mahatma Gandhi Museum was inaugurated at Alfred High School, Rajkot in 2018. This was the school from where Mahatma Gandhi passed his matriculation in 1887.

The Prime Minister has put into practice the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and showcased how his ideas remain relevant even in 21st century. He has used Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings to mobilize people and to further the mission of creating a New India. His actions have actualized Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and values.

Modi’s own words written in his blog on October 2, 2018 shows his vision in promoting the legacy of Bapuji. He wrote “India is a land of diversity. If there was one person who brought everyone together, made people rise above differences, to fight colonialism and enhanced India's stature at the world stage, it was Mahatma Gandhi. Today, we, the 1.3 billion Indians are committed to working together to fulfil the dreams Bapu saw for a country for which he gave his life."