Deaf get representation in panel on disability act

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 09, 2010 15:50 hrs

The government has decided to include a hearing impaired person in the newly-formed committee which will draft the new disability act, activists of groups working for the disabled said Wednesday.

The decision comes after a day-long protest Wednesday by disabled people in front of the office the ministry of social justice and empowerment at Shastri Bhavan in the capital.

Around 100 disabled people participated in the protest demanding that a hearing impaired person must be included in the committee.

Paul Ramanathan, a disabled organisation activist, told IANS: 'Non-inclusion of members of the disabled groups while passing the first disability act was the government's failure 15 years back. We are determined that the same mistake of poor representation is not repeated this time.'

Recognising the demand, the ministry invited a member of the National Association of the Deaf for the committee meeting scheduled Thursday. The protesters therefore called off their protest late Wednesday.

Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group, said: 'The ministry extended an invitation to A.S. Narayanan, secretary of the National Association of the Deaf, for the first committee meeting. Hopefully he will be made a permanent member soon.'

'Earlier there were just three disabled members in the 30-member committee. Now there are 10 disabled members in the committee of 34,' he added.

Following pressure from various disabled groups, the ministry in April formed a committee to draft new legislation, reflecting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to replace the existing act.

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