NCPEDP (National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People), India’s apex body representing the rights and interests of persons with disabilities in association with Arushi- a not-for-profit organisation working with and for people with disabilities and issues related to them, organised a state-level seminar on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD Act) 2016 on March 16-17 at Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal.
India legislated the RPWD Act in December 2016 and in doing so ensured its commitment to the international community to bring its domestic law in harmony with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which it ratified in October 2007. With the passage of this law, the Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995 stood repealed.
“It is crucial to create awareness about the provisions under the newly enacted law and the various developments that have taken place under it. State level implementation of the RPWD Act 2016 is important as disability is considered a state subject. The Act acknowledges 21 categories of disabilities and looks at disabilities as a mainstream human rights issue. However unfortunately implementation of this Act varies across states,” said Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP.
Krishna Gopal Tiwari, IAS, Social Justice and Disabled Welfare Department Madhya Pradesh government who graced the seminar with his presence said, “The RPWD Act 2016 focuses on the all-round development of persons with disabilities and hence it becomes more important to have awareness on the same. While special schools are important much emphasis should be laid on inclusive education for children with disabilities.”
“The new RPWD Act is a game changer as it holds the private sector accountable as well. The responsibility of implementing the RPWD Act 2016 should not be solely on the Social Welfare Department and needs to include other departments like education, health as well,” added Arman.
Other speakers included Mohd. Kaleem Siddiqui, Asst professor, Digdarshika Institute, Bhopal, Sunil Sharma, Asst. Director, Social Justice Department, Dr. Ganesh Joshi, Composite Regional Centre, Bhopal and sector leaders such as Dr. Rohit Trivedi, Executive Director, Arushi as well over 100 representatives from Disabled People’s Organisations across different districts in MP and Chhattisgarh.
Sunil Sharma, Asst. Director, Social Justice and Disabled Welfare Department highlighted the status of implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2016 in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Sharma mentioned that District Level Committees have been formulated in 50 out of the 52 districts, however no persons with disabilities have been made a part of these committees. He further added that special judges and special courts have been notified in few of the districts. “With regards to accessibility, the process of making public buildings accessible is still underway while in terms of web accessibility, all government websites have been made accessible,” added Mr Sharma.
The Seminar was supported by Axis Bank.