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Creating a National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities: An Introduction

Posted by Anandhi Viswanathan at Sep 28, 2012 12:45 PM |
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The Centre for Internet & Society is engaged in a two-and-a-half year project starting from August 2012 to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India. This project is supported by the Hans Foundation. The Resource Kit will be brought out in both English and Hindi and disseminated to policy makers from panchayat to ministry levels throughout India.

CIS hopes that this resource kit will immensely benefit the disabled community in India by providing them with a ready reference on the facilities given by the government.

More often than not a facility isn’t enjoyed by the public as no one knows about its existence. It becomes important then to make it accessible and give it exposure. The National Resource Kit of Laws, Policies and Programmes for Persons with Disabilities will fill this gap of lack of comprehensive information in this field.

The rights of persons with disabilities have for long been a topic of international discussion in various forums. It is essential to not just promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights of persons with disabilities but also promote respect for their dignity. Making legal provisions for the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a mechanism that ensures that they have access to human rights but also a tool that enables them to contribute to the growth of their nation by providing them with the facilities that aid them in overcoming their challenges and enable them to lead fruitful lives.

To provide persons with disabilities in India equal opportunity for liberty, equality and dignity on par with all citizens, India has enacted three disability laws:

  1. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
  2. National Trust for Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act, 1999.
  3. Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992.

India is now in the process of drafting a new law on the rights of persons with disabilities that aims to fill the gaps in the earlier laws through a deeper understanding of the real issues faced by them and providing solutions and opportunities on par with international standards.

Despite the existing legal provisions, the populace that continues to struggle with consuming issues like overpopulation, poverty, unemployment and lack of resources, often tend to neglect issues which concern persons with disabilities. An overwhelming public opinion that considers persons with disabilities to be incapable of making meaningful contribution to the society due to their disability has led to the exclusion of persons with disabilities from mainstream society.

One of the major reasons for this exclusion and neglect is the lack of awareness about the various facilities being extended by the government to persons with disabilities targeted at enabling them to overcome their challenges. Generating awareness by providing them with information that will help them gain access to education, vocational skills, employment training and opportunities and healthcare is a vital step in ensuring that the legal rights of persons with disabilities are enabled for them.

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