The Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Mukul Wasnik inaugurated the 9th National Meeting of Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities organized by the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities here today.
Addressing the Meeting, Shri Wasnik announced that the Persons with Disabilities Rules, 1996 have been amended to simplify the procedure for certification. The format of disability certificate has also been simplified. The new formal will require the signature of single doctor other than in the case of multiple disabilities. He advised the State Commissioners to take up with their respective Governments for amendments in the PwD Rules of the States and for notification of Medical Authorities in the hospitals including PHCs.
Shri Wasnik said that the meeting is important in view of the country’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 is being amended keeping in view the experiences over the past years and also to harmonize it with the UNCRPD. He also urged the States for greater involvement in the process and advised them to give their inputs at the earliest.
He observed that significant benefits have accrued to persons with disabilities through quasi-judicial actions of the office of Chief Commissioner and many State Commissioners. He stressed on proper implementation of the recently launched scheme of Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) so that children with disabilities enjoy their right to school education on equal basis with others. He said that education is the most essential tool for empowerment and the Government is committed to provide education to every child with disability in an inclusive environment.
Shri Wasnik said that accessibility to physical environment, information and communication is most crucial for accessing any facility be it health services, education, employment or entertainment and unless these are made accessible, persons with disabilities will get deprived of their fundamental rights and entitlements. He requested all the States/UTs Commissioners to be vigilant in this regard and take up with the concerned departments. It may be recalled that Shri Wasnik as written a letter to all the State Chief Ministers urging them to ensure that the all the Government buildings are made barrier free.
Shri Wasnik also exhorted the State Commissioners to take up the issue of designing “accessible” websites which can be used by PwDs. He also announced that Ministry of SJ&E will include one National Award each in Govt., NGO and Corporate Sector for accessible websites to be given away along with other National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
Addressing the participants, Shri D. Napoleon, the Minister of State in the Ministry commended the States which have achieved good results in issuing disability certificates. As the disability certificate is the basic document for PwDs to avail any benefit, he advised the State Commissioners to organize special campaigns in the areas where large number of persons with disabilities are yet to be issued disability certificates to cover all the eligible persons in a time bound manner.
Shri Napoleon also urged Commissioners to take up with the concerned Departments for Special recruitment drive to fill the backlog reservation in State organizations. He stressed the need to set up Vocational Training Centres in each district where persons with disabilities can be trained in different vocations, which would enable them to secure job and earn their livelihood through self-employment ventures.
Smt. Sangita Gairola, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities informed that a total of 11,741 complaints had been registered in the O/o CCPD up to 31.01.2010. Of this 10,752 stood disposed of as on 31.01.2010. In addition, 10,062 cases were handled in 25 Mobile Courts conducted by the O/o CCD with the State Commissioners in 15 States. Out of these 10,052 have been disposed of. She also gave an overview of a few of the complaints and suo-motu action taken by the O/o CCD relating to Education, employment, Barrier free access, social security, etc. In those cases not only the rights of individuals were protected but also a large number of persons with disabilities will benfit. For example, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan will not charge Vidyalaya Vikas Nidhi @ Rs. 160/- p.m. from children with disabilities. Students with disabilities will not be required to produce afresh disability certificate at the time of admission through AIEEE.
The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities from different States/UTs presented a critical overview of the status of implementation of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 and schemes etc in their respective states.
The National Meeting is held to review the status of implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995 in the 35 States/UTs and other initiatives taken by the concerned Governments to protect the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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