M.S.J.E. considering a new law over amendments, Wasnik tells D.R.G.

p>D.N.I.S. News Network, India: In what can be termed as a big step forward for the Indian disability sector, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) is finally considering the option of going in for a brand new law based on U.N.C.R.P.D. as opposed to their earlier stand on going in for amendments to the archaic Disability Act of 1995. This was disclosed by Minister M.S.J.E., Mukul Wasnik in a meeting with a delegation of Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) led by Convenor Javed Abidi on February 9.  Although it was clear that Wasnik was still mulling the option, he said that he was “open to the idea” of going in for a new law. He had maintained a similar position in August when the D.R.G. delegation met him. However, this is the first time Wasnik has publicly spoken about a new law. He also talked about the possibility of going in for a new law in a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice on February 8.

Wasnik refuted the rumour that M.S.J.E. is going to place the Amendments Bill in the coming Budget Session. He hinted that the Ministry may consider going in for more consultations on the issue of a new law.  Abidi once again reiterated the unanimous demand of the disability sector for a new law that was observed in the National Consultation held by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) and the North Zone Consultation thereafter.  The D.R.G. delegation consisted of Arun Rao, Executive Director, The Deaf Way Foundation; A. S. Narayanan, Secretary, N.A.D.; Dr. Achal Bhagat, Director, Sarthak; G. Syamala, Executive Director, A.A.D.I.; J. P. Gadkari, President, Parivaar; Radhika Alkazi, Managing Trustee, A.A.S.T.H.A.; Dr. Shanti Auluck, Director, Muskaan; and Vandana Bedi, Consultant, Disability and Development.

It may be mentioned that N.C.P.E.D.P. and D.R.G. are going ahead with their Zonal Consultations, as well as the drafting of the new law by the D.R.G. Core Group as planned.

DNIS, 15th Feb 2010

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