New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) The National Advisory Council, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, has recommended giving tax benefits to private employers of persons with disabilities, in a set of measures to enable their greater participation in the workforce.
Giving its suggestions on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPDB), the NAC has also suggested extending subsidies and financial incentives for starting small scale income generation activities by household of persons with disabilities (PWD).
“RPDB should also mandate support to families with PWDs themselves in engaging in or accessing gainful employment, including financial and tax benefits to private employers of PWDs,” the advisory panel said in a recent communication to the government.
It has pitched for stronger anti-discrimination provisions to lower barriers to their productive employment, thus enabling greater participation of PWD in the workforce.
Voicing concern over non-recognition of full legal capacity of PWDS, the NAC has recommended that the Law Ministry review all statutes in order to include an acknowledgement of full legal capacity for such persons.
Noting that there were multiple laws that provide and protect the rights of PWDs, the NAC has suggested merging them into one holistic law to avoid inconsistencies and duplication.
At present the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act; National Mental Health Act; Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act; and The Rehabilitation Council of India Act govern issues related to PWDs.
The NAC also recommended that families with disabled members should be given higher weightage during identification of poor households and surveys for BPL and food insecure households.
It also wanted the RPDB to guarantee preferential access to households with PWDs to all poverty alleviation and social security programmes, including social security allowance.
The panel also suggested setting up a single National Disablities Commission and State Disability Commission to replace diverse institutions concerned with the rights of PWDs.
“This would save costs, prevent the creation of a large bureaucracy, and above all provide a single window of contact at the central, state or district level for PWDs to access their rights and secure redressal of their grievances,” it said.
The NAC also found “grave” the provision of upto six months imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine for persons violating the rights of PWDs.
“The penalties needs to be more specific and cannot be for blanket violation of all entitlements under the bills,” the advisory panel said.