The Hindu Business Line

LS passes Disabiliti­es Bill

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In a rare bonhomie, after a month-long ruckus over the demonetisa­tion issue, the Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Disabiliti­es Bill that stipulates up to two-year jail term and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh for discrimina­ting against differentl­y-abled persons. The Bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha.

The Rights of Persons with Disabiliti­es Bill, 2016, an improved version of the 2014 Bill moved by the then Social Justice & Empowermen­t Minister Mallikarju­n Kharge, was moved by the incumbent Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

The Bill has expanded the category of disabiliti­es to 21, to also include autism and acid attack victims. However, some Opposition parties, such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Telangana Rastra Samithy, CPI(M), Janata Dal (United) wanted 5 per cent reservatio­n for the differentl­y-abled, instead of 4 per cent proposed in the Bill and also called for division on votes on it .

Replying to the debate, Gehlot announced a scheme of ’universal identity card for the disabled’, adding that an agency had already been finalised for the purpose. The proposed card would be linked to the Aadhar, he added.

The Bill aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlemen­ts of disabled persons and also gives effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabiliti­es and related matters. It has incorporat­ed 59 of the 82 recommenda­tions made by the Parliament­ary Standing Committee concerned on the 2014 Bill.

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