NAC Recommends ONE HOLISTIC Disability Law & Full Legal Capacity # Goodnews


English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NAC for Tax Benefits to Employers of Disabled Persons

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.

Differently-abled passenger off-loaded SpiceJet Flight for flying unescorted


 

 Feb 20, 2012- An independent, widely travelled woman with cerebral palsy was forced off a Goa-bound plane minutes before take-off from Calcutta airport on Sunday morning because the pilot had reservations about her being on board without an escort.

Jeeja Ghosh, 40, works with an advocacy group of the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy and has been staying and travelling the world on her own since she was a student. So imagine her shock when a smiling flight attendant on board the SpiceJet flight SG 803 walked up to seat 35D to tell her she would need to get off the plane.

“But tell me why?” protested Jeeja, who had clocked thousands of air miles without ever being told her condition was a barrier to flying alone.

The flight attendant, polite but firm, said she would know the reason once she was escorted out of the aircraft. “No, tell me first,” she demanded. No answer.

Flight SG 803 took off for Mumbai en route to Goa on schedule without Jeeja despite her being issued a boarding card, and all because the pilot wouldn’t budge from his stand that a passenger with cerebral palsy should not travel alone.

A senior SpiceJet official said the airline would need to “find out what exactly happened” before making a statement.

Jeeja, who did her postgraduation in social work and disability studies at Leeds in the UK, was to attend a conference in Goa. She narrates to Metro how humiliated she felt on being deplaned for a medical condition she has long overcome to become an educated and successful working woman.

I work for Ankur, an advocacy group through which we fight for the rights of people living with disabilities. I am a frequent visitor to Calcutta airport as I travel regularly to attend workshops and conferences across the country. I visit Delhi the most for work.

On Sunday morning, I was supposed to head for Goa on board SG 803, via Mumbai. It was a SpiceJet flight scheduled to take off at 8.05am and I reached the airport at 7am to check in. I got my boarding pass and informed the airline staff that I would need assistance to board the flight. A person escorted me to the plane and soon I was in my assigned seat. Little did I know what awaited me.

A few minutes later, I noticed the flight crew in a huddle and heard people murmuring my name and pointing at me. Then an airline employee came up to me and politely said: “You will have to accompany me.”

Startled as I was, I asked him the reason. He kept repeating I would need to come out of the aircraft to know the reason. By then, several members of the airline crew were hovering around me. Some of my co-passengers asked why they were bothering me, but they wouldn’t listen. They kept saying I would need to deplane.

“I am a regular flier. All I need is a little bit of assistance,” I tried to convince them, knowing that my condition was the only reason they could target me.

Soon I was seated in a car headed for the terminal. I was seething. I have never felt so insulted. Their sheer insensitivity made me cry.

I called up my senior at work, the executive director of the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy. She tried to convince the airline authorities that I was capable of travelling alone, only to be told that the pilot (Utprabh Tiwari) had a problem flying the aircraft with a “handicapped passenger” travelling unescorted.

The airline staff kept saying: “Very sorry, madam. The pilot insists he cannot take you on board alone.”

I found it nauseating, more so because this man did not have the courage to come up to me and say he had a problem accepting I could take care of myself.

I asked the airline personnel to either arrange for a refund or issue a new ticket to Goa. They gave me a ticket for the Monday morning flight.

The assistant general manager of SpiceJet in Calcutta told me he had spoken to his seniors and that he would make sure I wasn’t harassed and humiliated again.

But what about the pilot’s attitude towards me? His mindset reflects the mental block of society towards people like me. At least I knew where to go and voice my protest. I shudder to think what would happen to another person with disability who has not had similar exposure or opportunities as me.

The airline later issued a statement apologising for the inconvenience caused to the passenger. The airline expressed regret for the incident, and said that the matter will be investigated and action taken

AS TOLD TO SREECHETA DAS, The Telegraph

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