Draft disability policy open for feedback

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Draft disability policy open for feedback

  • Draft of national policy for persons with disabilities was recently released.
  • The New policy will replace the 2006 policy.

Need of new policy

  • India’s signing of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • New disability legislation which increased no. of disabilities from seven conditions to 21
  • Party to Incheon Strategy for Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022
  • Prepared under UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
  • Identifies 10 goals for Asia-Pacific countries to ensure inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities and conformity with SDG 2030.

Highlights Of Policy Document

  • Principle: Inclusion and empowerment of PwD by providing a mechanism that ensures their full participation in society.
  • It highlights detailed commitment to education, health, skill development and employment, sports and culture, social security, accessibility and other institutional mechanisms.
  • There is absence of any commitment to political uplift of persons with disabilities.

About political participation

  • Article 29 of Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • To ensure PwD can effectively participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.
  • Incheon goals: Promote participation in political processes and decision making.
  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016:
  • It recognises the political domain where disabled people should be allowed to realize their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • The exclusion of disabled people from the political space happens at all levels of the political process in the country, and in different ways.

Reasons for political exclusion

  • Section 11 of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act:
  • Ensure polling stations are accessible to PwD
  • All materials related to the electoral process are easily understandable by and accessible to them.
  • Disabled people still report accessibility issues.
  • No widespread adaptation of braille electronic voting machines and wheelchair services at all polling centres.
  • Lack of live aggregate data on exact number of disabled people in every constituency furthers their marginalization.
  • Lack of accessible space for party meetings
  • Inaccessible transport for campaigning
  • Attitudinal barrier among voters and party leaders are also contributing factors.
  • Disabled people are not represented enough at all three levels of governance.

Way ahead

  • inclusiveness and empowerment cannot be achieved without political inclusion.
  • Policy can follow a four-pronged approach:
  • Building capacity of disabled people’s organisations
  • Empowering them through training in electoral system, government structure, and basic organisational and advocacy skills
  • Creation, amendment or removal of legal and regulatory frameworks by lawmakers and election bodies to encourage political participation of the disabled
  • Inclusion of civil societies to ‘conduct domestic election observation or voter education campaigns
  • Framework for political parties to conduct meaningful outreach to PwD when creating election campaign strategies and developing policy positions’.