Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday assured a delegation of representatives of the disabled, which raised several demands including a separate ministry for disability affairs, of all \”possible steps\” to help them.A 10-member delegation of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled, led by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member and Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat, met the prime minister after holding a rally here in support of the rights and demands of the disabled.
\”The PM was very sympathetic towards their demands. He has promised to take all possible steps to help the disabled,\” Karat told IANS.
The group, which represents various organisations working among different sections of the disabled in the country, submitted a memorandum to the prime minister with their demands.
Among these were replacing the current Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 in consonance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and harmonising other laws and the proper enumeration of the persons with disabilities.
The memorandum also demanded \”a comprehensive social security system for all persons with disabilities and their families, including antyodaya (poorest of the poor) cards to all disabled persons\” should be provided.
The other demands included free health care for all disabled in all hospitals, amendment of the Right To Education Act to include teachers and professionals, continuation and increase of grants to special schools, identification of jobs for the disabled immediately, special recruitment drives each year to fill the vacancies including backlog within a stipulated time.
They also sought an identity card, valid throughout the country and accepted by all departments and institutions, provision of concessions in all local trains, continuing the unreserved bogey for the disabled, and extension of e-booking facility for the disabled.
Later, the delegation also met Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik.