Does not the disabled count?

K. Khiungtsukiu

With the passing of four major legislations by the Govt. of India (viz. The Mental Health Act, 1987; the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1973; The Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and the National Trust (For the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities) Act, 1999), there has been a considerable shift in the understanding of disabilities from the medical interpretation as deficit to that of human rights issue. Each of this Acts has its own history of birth and also has its financial arrangements (for e.g. towards the country wide implementation of the Act, of 1995 Rs 12,000 cores was sanctioned). Along with each manual of the Acts, cores of rupees were sent to respective State govts for implementation of the object therein mentioned in the Act- sensitizing the masses through seminars, symposiums, building up infrastructures/ identification of post for their empowerment, etc.

Here is an extract from the representation addressed to Honb’le C.M “Representation against the non-appointment of Commissioner, Disabled Cell” and submitted to Parliamentary Secretary (SSW), Chief Secretary, Director (SSW) and Chairman, NPSC:  

CM’s Corpus Fund, State sponsored scheme’s such as IT or business trainings, poverty alleviations schemes, etc: The Persons With Disability Act, 1995 clearly state’s that at least 5% in all poverty alleviation schemes should be earmarked for disabled, but it has never been honored. On these counts there has been an outright exclusion of disabled from utilizing their potentials and to contribute their mites. Reservation or preference should have been arrange in all this poverty alleviations schemes to disabled aspirants in the wake of often said excuses “lack of identification of post” in Govt. Sectors.  

Year of Youth Empowerment:  Under this theme the State govt sponsored and organized various activities for the youth during 2004-05. Amidst the euphoria’s and celebrations, the State failed to organized/celebrate World Disability Day- a single day of get together for disabled from seclusion and deprivation. This year saw no differences; the disabled are totally excluded from the preview of empowerment years.  

The NPSE: Even after the State govt’s Notification of 5% reservation for disabled aspirants in any direct recruitment process, the omission of words like “disabled”, “physically challenged” or “handicapped” by the NPSC in its Advt’s (for NCS and Allied Services), Application Forms or OMR Sheet is being continued. Moreover, when the so-called ‘Backward Tribes’ were provided space to mention their tribal affinity in the examinations OMR Sheet, why the same arrangement was not made for us to mention the category of our disability? If the space provided to the “BT” was mean for marginalized section for concessional mark facilities, grace marks, etc we should have been included. The question is who is more marginalized, who is more backward? Theses practice’s been unethical and bias and which would send a signal of discouragement” to the disabled, their families and their well wishers on the vanity of spending time, money and energy on the education of their disabled children, many a time have we appeal for your kind intervention to stop such a malicious practices. It is as it was. Nothing has been changed. 

In the backdrop of this humiliating treatment, many times we took up the matter for redressal in vain. Repeatedly we were made to understand that “there is no such Disability Commissioner in our State. The last designated Commissioner had been transferred out in Nov. 2004 and no appointment has been made against the arising vacancy till date”. Such is the lackadaisical attitude of the State towards our “emancipation to main stream”, we are made to live under departmental individual’s whims and fancies. They know fully well, even if we few “fortunate” bark in the print-medias, we are in no position to bite them. Moreover, it is intriguing why barely within six (6) month’s of Notification (5% reservation) our Commissioner designate was transferred out and still why his successor was not appointed even to this date?  In this case, it is absurd and malignant to talk about the welfare of the disabled after killing the Office of the “IMPLEMENTOR” -“of any disability related measures undertaken by the Central/State government”.

“We don’t want mercy, we don’t want pity. Just give us what is due to us”