New Delhi: Government is set to table the new disability bill in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, to guarantee civil and political rights to such people and expand the definition of disability.
"We feel the country should be ready for new developments that have taken place in the world and so we are considering a new law. It will be more encompassing with more disabilities being brought in," said Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Selja Kumari.
The Minister was speaking here at the 15th NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller Awards function which facilitated six individuals with disabilities and an equal number of institutions including NGOs and companies supportive of disabled.
The Minister said the proposed law seeks to repeal Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995 and replace it with a comprehensive rights based law in accordance with provisions of the United Nations Disability Convention, which India ratified in October 2007.
"The previous law was enacted very well and with all good intentions, but now we feel that we need to go even further," the Minister said.
According to the UN body "disability is an evolving concept" and broadly casts "persons with disabilities" to "include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others."
Terming the draft bill as a major victory for the disabled Javed Abidi, of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), said it sought to increase the disability quota in India to 5 per cent from the existing 3 per cent.
"We have been very nervous about the draft law the last few days because the political atmosphere is changing. I am personally relieved and excited when the minister told me in that they have now got the clearance from the Law Ministry," Abidi said.
Of the total three per cent reservation for physically disabled, the blind and the deaf have one per cent each.
"The rights for the deaf were by and large ignored. There is no mention of sign language, no mention of interpreters and so far as the blind are concerned, there is no mention of information and communication technologies. There are numerous factors concerning the deaf and the blind which are not being considered under the old law," said Abidi.