Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Razia Sultana on Tuesday said with the inclusion of 14 new disabilities, total 21 disabilities would be covered under the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and the financial and other benefits of other social security schemes would be extended to more number of disabled persons.
Stating this in a communique here, the Minister said at present four Mentally Retarded Homes are being operated in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Rajpura (Patiala). Homes at Kapurthala and Amritsar are meant for girls whereas Mentally Retarded Homes at Ludhiana and Rajpura are being operated for boys only.
She said to evaluate the condition of these Mentally Retarded Homes, committees under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners has been constituted for these four districts. These Committees will consist of the representative of Health Department, Social Security Department, Education Department, Sports Department and one prominent NGO working for the welfare of Mentally Retarded Children.
She said this committee has been mandated to evaluate the working of Mentally Retarded Homes within three weeks and to suggest the remedial measures to overcome the deficiencies in these Homes. The Punjab government has invited the suggestions and comments from the public and other stakeholder on the draft Rules framed under the RPWD, Act-2016. She said that the draft of rules have been uploaded on the website of the state government.
Ms Sultana added that the previous seven disabilities were blindness, low vision, leprosy – cured, hearing impairment, loco motor disability, mental retardation, mental illness. She said that as per new Act the 21 disabilities are covered under the eight Groups — loco motor disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment, chronic neurological conditions, persons affected with blood related disorders, developmental disorders, mental illness and multiple disabilities. These eight groups contain 14 new disabilities like leprosy cured person, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, acid attack victims, autism, learning disabilities, muscular dystrophy, deaf, hard of hearing, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, hemophilia, thalassemia, sickle cell disease.
She said in the new Act punitive provisions have also been incorporated for the contravention of the provisions of the Act and Rules. She said that any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Act shall be punished with fine upto Rs 10,000 and in case contravention is repeated he may be fined with not less than Rs 50,000 and it can be extended to Rs five lakhs.
The Minister added that other important provision of this Act is increasing reservation to the disabled persons in government jobs from three per cent to four per cent. The reservation to disabled students in higher education is extended from three per cent to five per cent. The disabled students’ upto the age of 18 years would be given free education. Instructions in this regard are being issued shortly. She asked the department to fill the backlog vacancies for disabled persons on priority.
The Minister chaired the first meeting of the State Advisory Board on disabilities constituted under the RPWD Act-2016 to review the working of different Mentally Retarded Homes being operated in the districts.