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Delhi’s UT status coming in way of disability rights PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:21

NEW DELHI: Six months after the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, came into effect, Delhi government finds itself unable to notify the rules due to a technical reason. As per the Act, the state government has to notify the implementation of the Act, but because Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature, the onus for this is on the lieutenant governor, who is the administrator.

Delhi government has accordingly written to the Union home ministry to issue a notification delegating power to the LG to notify the said rules so that the Act can be implemented in Delhi.

Rajendra Gautam, the social welfare minister, said, "We wrote to the home ministry almost a month ago regarding the issue and are yet to hear from them. We have prepared the draft rules for the implementation of the Act, but the rules can't be notified till the ministry issues a notification to give such a power to the lieutenant governor."

While many provisions of the new Act are being implemented, officials say, there are several that cannot be put into practice till the government notifies the rules. T D Dhariyal, commissioner for persons with disabilities, Delhi government, explained, "It is only after the rules are notified that the state government can constitute the state advisory board, the advisory panel for the state commissioner for persons with disabilities and set up special courts, etc."

Sources in the central government said that the matter is under consideration and the notification will be issued after it is vetted by the law ministry.

In the meantime, Delhi government's social welfare department has put up the draft rules on its website. After going through them, disability rights activists grumbled that the government has prepared the draft rules without consulting the stakeholders. Dr. Satendra Singh, disability rights activist and associate professor at University College of Medical Sciences, pointed out, "Unlike Delhi, most other states that have notified the rules have replicated the central government rules. There are problems in the central rules, which we don't want the Delhi government to replicate. Else, the discrimination will continue."

A government source, however, assured, "The rules will be finalized only after consultation with the stakeholders. The draft will be put in public domain once the Union home ministry issues the notification."

While the rules are pending, activists complained that the central government was yet to issue the assessment guidelines for certification of disabled people. "Fourteen new types of disabilities were incorporated into the new Act. But people won't be able to benefit from a welfare scheme because there are no guidelines for certifying these disabilities," explained Singh.

Source: The Times of India Oct 30, 2017

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