Govt. will be able to pass Disabilities Bill in next parliament session: Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Jan.15: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said the Union Cabinet has given its nod to amendments in the Disabilities Bill, and added that the government would be able to pass it during the Budget Session.

“The Disability Act of 1995 is being amended to meet the norms of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The Union Cabinet has given its nod to the amendments and the Government will be able to pass it in the next session,” she said while inaugurating “SAMARTH 2014: Celebrating Diversity” organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment here today.

Last year in December, the Cabinet had approved the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.

Gandhi said that the bill covered a variety of issues relating to the disabled persons such as physical, mental and multiple disabilities, and added that there is a need to link the issues of the disabled with the mainstream of the society and the government and make their development a key component of policies.

She further added that it was felt initially that disability was a medical problem and that it had to be dealt only by doctors.

“Today, the medical model has been replaced by the developmental and sociological model. The disabled persons should not be kept aloof from the society. We will have to ensure that they make their place within the mainstream of the society and become its integral part,” she said.

Speaking on this occasion, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja said that people with disabilities have often been excluded from mainstream, instead their right to life with dignity is to be promoted and protected as they are an important human resource, and are a partner in nation-building.

Selja underlined the role of media in creating awareness on disability issues, and said there is also an urgent need for a lot of films to portray the people with disabilities in the right light.

“Of course, there are films like Nache-Mayuri, Iqbal, Taare Zamin Par, Sparsh etc. who have sensitively dealt with disability related issues but they have been far and in between,” she said.

“It is time that the Small Screen also starts programmes on disability related themes, as this will help in bringing disability right into the family space and help bring disability out of the closet into the open, thereby leading to greater acceptance of disability, which is the first step towards rehabilitation,” she added.

More than 280 participants with disabilities from all over India will perform in the various events organized, including the National Programme of Dance and Music, a day long film festival on Disability related themes, among others. (ANI)