New Delhi
For Big & Small Firms Right of Persons with Disabilities Act to get operational next week
Your favourite pizza joint may now have to ensure that it is accessible to everyone. From a small restaurant employing 20 persons to a private firm in an office complex, the private sector will have to ensure starting next week that it is accessible to the differently-abled, frames an equal opportunity policy for them, identifies jobs and provides facilities in the workplace.The Narendra Modi government has finalised the rules to operationalise Right of Persons with Disabilities Act next week. The social justice and empowerment ministry had been given a deadline of April 14 Ambedkar Jayanti ­ to operationalise the legislation.

“The rules have been finalised. We will issue the notification by Monday or Tuesday ,“ social justice a n d e m p owe r m e n t m i n i s t e r Thaawar Chand Gehlot told ET.

The department of empowerment of persons with disabilities (DEPwD) had finalised the rules and put them in the public domain in March. However, the biggest hitch in operationalising the Act was the definition of `establishment’ in the rules. The formulation put out in the rules said any establishment employing 50 persons or more. However, the law ministry had pointed out that the legislation passed by Parliament had made no such distinction on the numbers and the rules could not go beyond the Act and exclude any establishment under 50 persons. Gehlot confirmed that this has been addressed now.

The final formulation makes only one distinction, establishments em ploying less than 20 persons and those employing 20 persons or more, people familiar with the matter said.

While an equal opportunity policy will have to be framed by all establishments ­ private, governmentowned and ministries ­ the smaller establishments will need to main tain fewer records. A senior official said, “The processes are simpler for smaller establishments. They have to maintain fewer records and pledge not to discriminate against the differently-abled.“

For a bigger organisation employing more than 20 persons, an equal opportunity policy will spell out the jobs identified for the differentlyabled, the number of persons employed, facilities and assistive devices provided. This will be published on the website and in the annual reports.

The rules also mandate a grievance redressal mechanism. In case of discrimination or any other complaint, a differently-abled person can approach the chief commissioner or state commissioner for persons with disabilities. The complaint has to be disposed of within 60 days.