Batting for a Disability Rights Tribunal, a parliamentary panel has recommended increased penalty for offences against persons with disabilities, and suggested bringing “long term” diseases including diabetes Type-I, kidney failure and blood cancer, besides dwarfism, under the bracket of disabilities.
The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, which went into the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 and submitted its reports in Parliament today, also suggested a “disability budget” on lines of SC and ST Sub Plan for persons with disabilities (PwDs).
“The Committee recommended the ministry to consider inclusion of these disorders too as disabilities specially kidney failure, blood cancer, diabetes Type-I (IDDM), which are long term diseases generally incurable and require substantive medical care and expenses throughout life,” the report said.
The Committee also desires that dwarfism should be considered as a distinct disability rather than a part of locomotor disability, since these people are able to perform all normal activities but need help as they are discriminated because of their height and other characteristics besides having other problems like travelling, driving as well as health related problems.
The bill, which was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the previous Government in 2014 and referred to Standing Committee, had included 19 types of disability.
The Committee also sought for fixing time frame for cases that would be dealt by the Disability Rights Tribunal.
“A specific time frame would be laid down for disposal of cases relating to PwDs in Special Courts or Disability Rights Tribunal (as suggested by the Committee). The normal time period may range from six months to one year maximum,” the report said.
The Committee further suggested for training service animals for assisting visually and hearing impaired persons.
“Service animals like dogs should be provided to PwDs, especially for the blind and hearing impaired. Training should be imparted to these animals and they should be allowed to enter buildings along the PwDs,” the report stated.
It also recommended for increasing penalty for different types of offences including imposing fine up to Rs 10 lakh for discrimination in employment and revoking the licence of school and academic establishment for discrimination in schools.
Noting that differently-abled persons should get all the desired benefits under the Constitution and various central legislations across the country, the report said the Committee desires that the extent of the bill should include Jammu and Kashmir too.
Advocating for inclusion of insurance related provisions in the bill, the Committee said that a “mandatory provision enabling the insurance companies not to charge any higher premium for PwDs vis-a-vis other people, in their insurance schemes, should be addressed appropriately through an amendment in the IRDA Act, if necessary.”
In its report, the Committee said that the period of unemployment allowance to be given for PwDs must be at least for five years.