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Universal ID cards for persons with disabilities envisaged

The NDA government in 2014 disfavoured demands for bringing Dalit Christians and Muslims under the ambit of reservation for scheduled castes but supported the UPA regime's move to include Jats in the central OBCs list.



New Delhi: The NDA government in 2014 disfavoured demands for bringing Dalit Christians and Muslims under the ambit of reservation for scheduled castes but supported the UPA regime's move to include Jats in the central OBCs list.

The year also witnessed the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment envisaging universal ID cards to persons with disabilities in the coming years.

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court granted legal recognition to transgenders as "third category of gender" and directed the Centre and all states to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes to extend reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments.

Paving the way to bring transgenders in national mainstream, the apex court in April also directed governments to take steps to remove problems faced by them such as fear, shame, social pressure, depression and social stigma.

This led the government to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to pursue implementation of the recommendations of an expert committee, seeking third gender status for transgenders.

A proposal to give constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is under the consideration of the government, the Centre told Parliament. It also said that no proposal for reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in the private sector was under the government's consideration.

Moreover, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, to amend the PoA Act was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 16 which was referred to the Departmental Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examination. The ministry, which comprises Department of Disability Affairs, referred a case against a Uttar Pradesh-based NGO to the Law Ministry for a CBI probe for allegedly fudging documents to swindle funds allocated for the welfare of differently-abled persons this year, in a bid to rein in violating NGOs.

"There is an NGO in Uttar Pradesh which is associated with a politician. We have referred the case to the law department for a CBI probe against it," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot had said in September.

When asked whether he was referring to the NGO said to be associated with a former Union minister, Gehlot preferred not to name the NGO or the politician against whom the ministry has recommended for a probe.

This apart, the government said that there was no definite timeframe envisaged for passing the Right to Persons with Disabilities Bill at this stage.

Introduced in Rajya Sabha on February 7, by the previous UPA regime, the bill deals with a variety of issues relating to the disabled persons such as physical, mental and multiple disabilities.

The bill seeks to provide five percent reservation for disabled persons in public sector jobs and reserved seats for them in higher educational institutions.

It also provides for setting up of a national commission and a national fund for them. It further seeks to bring sweeping changes in the earlier bill and broaden the ambit of disability from existing seven to 19 categories.

On the other hand, a parliamentary committee has recommended appropriate action against "erring authorities" who are not implementing the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, which mandates three percent reservation for the differently abled.

In its second report submitted in Parliament, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has noted that the Act makes it mandatory for the government to reserve not less than three per cent of vacancies for persons with disabilities.

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