Deadline for comments on policy for persons with disabilities extended
A social justice and empowerment ministry official said the deadline is likely to be extended further amid calls for more time
The Centre has extended the deadline for submission of comments on the draft National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which was made public in June and among other things proposes a dedicated job portal, from July 9 to July 15 after activists sought more time for it. A social justice and empowerment ministry official said the deadline is likely to be extended further.
Disability rights activist and University College of Medical Sciences (Delhi) professor Satendra Singh said despite the demand for converting the draft policy into an accessible document and to extend the deadline for comments, it has been extended just by a week. “A month is not enough to hold public consultations and submit the responses.”
Activists say the draft has many good provisions such as those related to ensuring that people with disability do not have to make multiple trips to get certifications. They underline that chapters related to skill development, education, and disaster management need some more work. The policy also proposes a network of Cross Disability Early Intervention Centres in every district.
TD Dhariyal, a former commissioner with Delhi’s Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, said instead of one centre in each district, the number should be decided on as per the geographical spread. “In hilly areas, it will be difficult for parents to take their children to the centre if it is located far away.”
Singh said there is no guidance on making tourist and religious places accessible to people with disabilities. “Do states have a list of accessible tourist places?”
Anjalee Agarwal, an access auditor who has been involved in conducting accessibility audits of government buildings, called for the need to have a detailed strategy for disaster management. “During the pandemic, getting access to information in an accessible format was a big challenge for people with disabilities. The policy should clearly state that people with disabilities should be on priority and should have access to information.”