India has almost four to eight crore people with disabilities. But due to low literacy, scarce jobs and extensive social stigma, disabled people in India are one of the most excluded groups. Generally, kids with disabilities are a lot less likely to be in school, disabled adults are prone to be unemployed, and families with a disabled member are usually worse off than an average family. It is not because of the lack of potential, but due to lack of opportunities, disabled people are marginalised. To uplift disabled people, there is a special act for them in India. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 replaces the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. Also, the new act satisfies the obligations to the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Act was implemented in December 2016. Additionally, disability is defined based on an evolving and progressive concept.
Rights Of a Disabled Person
- Article 27 of the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) “recognizes the Rights of Disabled Persons In India to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the rights to gain a living by working freely.
- Article 14 of the CRPD directs state parties to assure people with disabilities the right to liberty and security of person.
- In article 21, the CRPD mentions that states must take all appropriate measures to ensure that PWDs have the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
- In addition to the above laws, it is also the responsibility of the appropriate government to take sufficient measures to ensure that disabled people have equal rights.
- People with Disabilities (PWDs) enjoy reservation in higher education (not less than 5%), government jobs (not less than 4 %). Furthermore, PWDs also have a reservation in the allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment) etc.
- Children with benchmark disability between the ages of 6 and 18 years have the right to free education.
- Government-funded educational institutions and the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to disabled children.
Benefits for PWDs
- Disability Certificate: This certificate helps a disabled person to avail certain benefits and concessions. Thus, people with more than 40% disability can possess this document.
- Disability Pension: People who are 18 and above of age, suffer from more than 80% disability and live below the poverty line are qualified to the disability pension under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme.
- Income Tax Concession: Rights of Disabled Persons In India also include certain income tax concessions.
Which disabilities come under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act?
- Leprosy Cured persons
- Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)
- Locomotor Disability
- Intellectual Disability
- Mental Illness
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Chronic Neurological conditions
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Speech and Language disability
- Sickle Cell disease
Multiple Disabilities including deafness and blindness
Acid Attack victim
Penalties for offences
The Act also covers the penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities.
- Any individual who violates the provisions or any rule or regulation of the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment up to six months and or a fine of Rs 10,000, or both.
- For any subsequent violation, individuals can face jail for up to two years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000 to five lakh INR can be awarded.
- If an individual deliberately insults or intimidates a person with a disability they are liable with imprisonment between six months to five years and fine.
- Furthermore, sexually exploiting a woman or child with a disability can land individuals in jail for a term of six months to five years and fine.
- Lastly, there are special courts in every district to handle cases concerning the violation of the rights of PwDs.
In conclusion, PWDs should have access to better education and employment opportunities. When we empower people with disabilities, they can easily become an integral part of society. Disabled people in India will be able to financially contribute to their household and the national economy thus leading to higher economic growth.