#India- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment- Review 2012 #disability


 

      Press Information Bureau English Releases

 

      28-Dec-2012

 

        The

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

        is entrusted with the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. The target groups of the Ministry are: (i) scheduled Castes, (ii)

Other Backward Classes

      , (iii) Senior Citizens and (iv) Victims of Substance Abuse.

 

        Enhancement in Plan Outlay of the MinistryThere was an unprecedented increase of 136.60% in the plan outlay of the Ministry from Rs.2500 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 5915 crore in 2012-13 which includes the Budget Estimate of Department of Disability of Affairs. The plan Outlay allocated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for

12th Five Year Plan

      has been enhanced to Rs 32684 crore from Rs 13043 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan…Department of Disability Affairs

 

      Creation of a new Department of Disability Affairs

 

        A new Department of Disability Affairs has been set up vide

Cabinet Secretariat

      ’s notification dated 12.05.2012. The Department has been allocated twenty five (25) subjects. Creation of a new Department would ensure greater focus on policy matters to effectively address disability issues. Having a separate budget would help in strengthening existing schemes, formulation of new schemes as also promotion of technological innovation in the sector. It would further boost greater coordination among stakeholders, organizations, state governments and related central ministries.

 

      New Draft Legislation on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

 

        The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (

PwD

      Act) has been in force for over 15 years. In view of the need to review it and harmonize its provision with United Nations Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Ministry constituted an experts committee, which submitted its report to the Ministry on 30.06.2011. The draft bill was uploaded on the Ministry’s website for comments. The Ministry also initiated consultations with 17 Central Ministries and Departments on provisions of the draft Bill concerning them. Based on the inputs received, a draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 has been prepared and circulated in September, 2012 to all State Governments/Union Territories for their comments. The Bill will be introduced in the Parliament, after due consultations with the State Governments and other Stakeholders.

 

      Establishment of new District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) and Composite Regional Centres (CRCs)

 

      District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres

 

      To create infrastructure and capacity building at district level for providing rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities, awareness generation, training rehabilitation professionals etc, the Ministry provides assistance for setting up of District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) in un-served districts of the country. Until March, 2010, 199 DDRCs have been sanctioned.

 

        The Finance Minister had announced in his budget speech for 2010-11 that 100 new DDRCs would be opened during the remaining period of the XIth Five Year Plan. Accordingly, 100 districts in 20 States were identified and the concerned State Governments requested in June 2010 to send proposals for setting up new DDRCs. In the year 2010-11 & 2011-12, sanctions were issued for setting up of 33 new DDRCs. During the current year 2012-13, sanctions have been issued for setting up of four new DDRCs namely (1)

Mehboobnagar

        (Andhra Pradesh) (2) Howrah (

West Bengal

      ) (3) Bankura (West Bengal) & (4) Shivsagar (Assam).

 

      Composite Regional Centres

 

      The scheme of setting up of Composite Regional Centres is a part of overall strategy to reach out to the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the country and to facilitate the creation of the required infrastructure and capacity building at Central, State and District levels and below for awareness generation, training of rehabilitation professionals, service delivery etc. Centres are set up at locations where the existing infrastructure for providing comprehensive services to disabled were inadequate and where such centres are needed the most.

 

        There were eight CRCs functioning at Sundernagar, Srinagar, Lucknow, Guwahati, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and

Kozhikode

      . The new CRC at Kozhikode has been functional from February, 2012.

 

Rajiv Gandhi

      National Fellowship Scheme for Students with DisabilitiesA new Central Sector Scheme of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities for persons with disabilities has been launched in November, 2012 to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education leading to degrees such as M.Phil and Ph.D. The scheme caters to requirements of the students with disabilities for pursuing research degree in universities, research institutions and scientific institutions. The scheme has been made effective from 01.04.2012.

 

        The scheme caters total number of 200 Fellowships (Junior Research Fellows, JRF) per year to students with disabilities. The scheme covers all universities/institutions recognized by

University Grants Commission (UGC)

      and will be implemented by UGC itself. The rates of fellowship for JRF and SRF will be at par with the UGC fellowship.

 

Attn Delhi-Protest-The Draconian Mental Health Care Bill- Oct 10th #Mentalhealthday


 

Disability Rights Group (DRG)

&

National Alliance for Access to Justice for People Living with Mental Illness (NAAJMI)

 

Protest

 

The Draconian Mental Health Care Bill

 

Time: Wednesday, 10th October, World Mental Health Day

 

Time:  11 A.M.

 

Venue: In front of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare office,

at Nirman Bhavan, C Wing, New Delhi

 

 

India is home t0 30-40 million people living with psychosocial disabilities or what we refer to as disability caused due to a ‘mental illness’.

 

The archaic Mental Health Act of 1987, an offshoot of the colonial Lunacy Acts, makes people with ‘unsound’ mind non-human! They are not considered to have opinions, wishes or feelings; and cannot act upon their own will, as per laws.

 

The Disability Act of 1995 defines ‘mental illness’ as a disability. India has also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that talks about India’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights ofALL persons with disabilities.

 

However, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare seems to be ‘unaware’ of this. Nothing explains why then it has come out with a Mental Health Care (MHC) Bill, while completely failing to include mental health & well being to the Right to Health Act!

 

The draft of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2012 recently unveiled by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) guarantees the ‘legal capacity’ and the ‘right to choice’ of all persons with disabilities, including those with psychosocial disabilities. The Ministry of Health has gone drastically against CRPD and the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and has advocated for involuntary incarceration and continuing with electric shock treatments and even lobotomies!

 

  • The rights of people with psychosocial disabilities must be governed by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Why is the Health Ministry then overstepping its turf? What is the Health Ministry’s motivation?
  • While the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill of MSJE talks about ‘full legal capacity’, MHC Bill talks about ‘involuntary incarceration’? What is the Government of India’s stand on the issue if two of its Ministries are talking diametrically opposite on this?
  • Involuntary incarceration, over drugging, mental asylums, electric shock treatment and the rampant abuse & exploitation that goes on in the name of psychiatry and mental health goes against the letter of CRPD that India has ratified. What is India’s answer to the international community?

 

WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE STOP TO THE PROCESS OF BRINGING A DRACONIAN MENTAL HEALTH CARE BILL

 

Immediate Release on protest by blind workers


Press Release on protest by blind workers outside the residence of Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment

April 26, 2012

by Blind Workers Union
24.04.2012

Today, large numbers of blind workers collected outside the residence of the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Mukul Wasnik. These workers have met the concerned Minister, as well as officials in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on several occasions since November 2011. However, the deep rooted concerns of blind workers lay un-addressed. Today, when the blind workers initially gheraoed the residence of the Hon’ble Minister, he did not meet them, and left his residence in haste. This response once again convinced the blind workers that the Government is least concerned about providing adequate employment to the blind, as well as protecting the basic labour rights of blind workers employed in the private sector. However, undeterred by the Minister’s initial decision not to entertain a delegation, the blind workers continued to sit outside the Minister’s residence in the scorching April heat. The militant protest finally led to some dialogue as the K.M. Acharya met with the workers’ delegation. Following a lengthy discussion between Shri Mukul Wasnik and officials in the Ministry, the Ministry finally agreed to provide alternative employment at a government-supported institute, to all the blind workers retrenched by the NGO, National Federation of the Blind (NFB).

Since November of last year, the blind workers have been protesting the retrenchment of several blind workers by the NFB. This NGO retrenched the workers because they were speaking out against denial of minimum wages and other basic labour rights in the Training and Rehabilitation Centres (TRCs) run by the NGO. However, the struggle of the workers is not just against the NFB, but also against the overall exploitation of blind workers across the country by private companies and NGOs. In the interest of availing of certain benefits like tax exemption for employing persons with disability, the private sector is known to employ yet brutally exploit disabled persons. The arbitrary hiring and firing practices, unregulated working hours, etc. prevalent in the private sector, amount to a serious breach of social justice, which is why the bind workers have been approaching the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. More importantly, the workers realize that the failure of successive governments to provide adequate employment to the blind community is the main reason why blind workers are dependent on the highly exploitative private sector. Hence, their struggle is based on the fundamental right to a livelihood—a right the Government is to protect and uphold. The three specific demands that the workers sought to discuss with the Minister were:

(i) Inclusion of a special section in the long pending Bill on the Rights of Persons With Disability (2011), which would safeguard the economic rights of blind workers employed in the private sector. For example, the Bill should include provisions to the effect that bodies violating basic labour rights will be penalized to the effect that NGOs indulging in such violation will face the cancellation of their registration.

(ii) That the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment tables a concrete plan of greater job creation for blind persons in the public sector. It is only with the provision of more government jobs that the dependence of blind workers on exploitative private companies and corrupt NGOs can be overcome.

(i) That because the Ministry has failed to curb the blatant violation of labour rights by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), it should ensure that all the disabled workers employed by NFB be provided alternative employment by the Government.

As the situation stands, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has conceded the third demand of the blind workers. With respect to the first and second demand, the Ministry has asked the Blind Workers Union (BWU) to provide a concrete plan which can be subsequently discussed and implemented.

Thanking you,
Alok Kumar, Ramnath
(On Behalf of Blind Workers Union)

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