Year End Review-2016 "Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Bill-2016" Passed by Parliament

Year End Review-2016 “Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Bill-2016” Passed by Parliament 
Sugamya Pustakalaya- An Online Library for Persons with Visual Disabilities Launched 
Three Guinness World Records Created in Samajik Adhikarita Shivir, Navsari, Gujarat

Year End Review - 2016

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Passing of the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Bill-2016” by Parliament was one of the major achievements of the Ministry during the year 2016. Besides this the Ministry launched various initiatives for the welfare of Scheduled Caste, Other Backward Class, Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Persons with Disabilities, Persons in Destitute, Safai Karamcharis, etc. These initiatives include financial support to the target groups, rehabilitation of beggars, and result oriented skill development programmes. Some of the programmes launched during the year include

Parliament passes Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill -2016 :

The Parliament passed the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Bill-2016” on 16th December, 2016. In the Bill, the Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and the types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included.

The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law. Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs. Reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability. Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has been strengthened who will now be assisted by 2 Commissioners and an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 11 members drawn from experts in various disabilities. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.

Ministry Announces Rs 90 Lakh in Cash Awards  to Rio Paralympics 2016 Medal winners :

Ministry gave Cash awards of a total of Rs 90 lakhs for the Rio Paralympics 2016 Medal Winners under Awareness Generation and Publicity (AGP) scheme. Gold medal winner Shri Mariyappan Thangavelu and Shri Devendra Jhajharia were awarded Rs 30 lakh cash prize, Silver medallist Ms. Deepa Malik was facilitated with Rs 20 lakh and Shri Varun Singh Bhati was honoured with Rs 10 lakh for winning bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics 2016.On the best ever performance of Indian Paralympians, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had already hailed the efforts of para-athletes in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on 25th September, 2016. India sent its biggest-ever contingent of 19 athletes to the Rio Paralympics 2016.

Three Guinness World Records created in Samajik Adhikarita Shivir, Navsari, Gujarat :

Three (3) Guinness World Records were created at Samajik Adhikarita Shivir and Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fittings of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) Camp in Navsari, Gujarat on 17th September, 2016. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Expressing his pleasure PM Shri Modi tweeted, “Navsari has set three records has made a mark for itself on the map of the world. Congratulations,” on the micro-blogging website.

The First record - “Highest number of Oil lamps lit simultaneously at single location” was set on the eve (16th September, 2016) of the Mega camp.  An incredible 989 Divyangjans (Person with Disabilities) came together to set an all-new record- almost doubling the minimum of 500 participants they needed in order to achieve the title. The challenge was for each person to light the lamp exactly at the same time after a given signal within 30 seconds.

The Second record ‘Biggest Wheelchair Logo’ was also broken on 17th September, 2016 in Navsari, Gujarat. The 1,000 participants in wheelchairs depicted a message saying ‘Happy Birthday PM’ in Tri-colour. It bettered the previous record of 346 participants that was achieved by Hope Inc. in Moorhead, Minnesota, USA.

The Third world record ‘Most people fitted with Hearing Aid in 8 hours – Single location (600 Hearing Aid) was also set on the same day. Free assistive devices kits were handed out to thousands of Divyangs throughout the weekend, in addition to the hearing aids distributed during the record attempt.

Sugamya Pustakalaya- an online library for persons with visual disabilities launched :

“Sugamya Pustakalaya: A step towards an Accessible Digital India” (An online library for persons with visual disabilities) was launched by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology at a function organized by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in New Delhi on 24th August, 2016. Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment presided over the function. 

“Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats. It has been created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with member organizations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS Access. Books are available in Accessible formats for people with visual impairment and other print disabilities. Over 2 lakhs books in diverse languages. Integrating libraries across India and the Globe, including the largest international library, ‘Bookshare’.

President presents “National Awards for Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities-2016 :

President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), 2016 to awardees at a function organized by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi on 3rd December, 2016 on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December). Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Ministers of State of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Shri Ramdas Athawale also graced the occasion.

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities i.e. 3rd December  the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment presents National Awards on Individuals, Institutions, Organisations, State/District etc for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. 


President Presents ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’ to Older Persons & Institutions on International Day of Older Persons :

The Preident of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee presented the National Awards for Senior Citizens “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2016” to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service towards the cause of elderly persons, especially indigent senior citizens at a function organized by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in New Delhi on 1st October, 2016. Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thawaarchand Gehlot presided over the function. These awards were presented as part of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) on 1st October.

Vayoshreshtha Samman is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (D/o Social Justice & Empowerment) initially in 2005 and was upgraded to the status of National Awards in 2013, for institutions involved in rendering distinguished service for the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens and to eminent citizens in recognition of their service/achievements. Ministries of Social Justice & Empowerment, Health and Rural Development are running such useful schemes for the welfare of elderly persons.

‘Job Fair for Divyangjans’organised :

Two days “Job Fair for Divyangjans” from 7th to 8th September 2016 was organized by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in New Delhi.  It was inaugurated by Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaarwarchand Gehlot in New Delhi. About 30 privates sector companies and Industries participated in the special job fair for Divyangjans. Based on their requirements these companies and industries made assessments of Divyangjans to give them employment.

Ministry felicitates visually impaired Judo Medalists from Commonwealth Games :

The Government is working on setting up 5 National Sports Centres for persons with disabilities. Out of these 3 Centres viz. Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh will come up very soon as the land has been allotted and preparatory work has been started.  The Government is very keen to provide all possible supports to the persons with disabilities so that they can excel in different spheres of life. Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment said this on 1st June, 2016 in New Delhi while felicitating Visually Impaired Judokas who won Gold & Bronze medals for India in recently held Commonwealth Championship in South Africa. Minister has also announced Rs.1 lakh each for Gold medallists and Coach and Rs. 50000 each for Bronze medallists. 

Prime Minister Unveils the Foundation Plaque of Dr. Ambedkar National Memorial :

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi unveiled the foundation plaque of Dr Ambedkar National Memorial on 21st March 2016 to be constructed at 26, Alipur Road, Delhi where Dr Ambedkar breathed his last.Delivering Dr. Ambedkar’s Memorial Lecture on the occasion, Shri Modi said that Dr Ambedkar contribution to the nation is immense. Most of the programmes being taken by the government now had been visualized by him only. Because of his ideology and vision for oppressed and downtrodden, he should be remembered saviour of oppressed world over and not as the leader of Dalits only in India.

New Rules notified to revamp Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act :

The Ministry has notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 on 14 April 2016, the birthday of Babasaheb Ambedkar.  The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was amended by Parliament in 2016. The amendments made stronger provisions for the protection of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from atrocities against them. Rules have now been framed to give effect to the amended provisions. These rules will speed up the process of dispensation of justice to victims of atrocities, are strongly sensitive in cases of offences against women, and liberalize and expedite access to relief for the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who have been victims of atrocities.

National Job Portal for persons with disabilities launched :

The Ministry launched an exclusive job portal for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) on 27th January 2016. The PwDs can avail the different facilities such as self employment loan, education loan, skill training, link to scholarships and information about jobs in a single window platform through this National Job Portal.  A book on success stories of 100 PwD entrepreneurs who have come up in their life to be the true role models was also launched. The book “YES WE CAN” has been published by penguin publishers with the support of NHFDC.

‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ as part of Prime Minister’s ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ for Persons with disabilities  launched :

Government launches ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ to mark the next chapter of its flagship Campaign, the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’. The Index, prepared in collaboration with The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was launched by Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs at a function held in New Delhi on 30th March 2016. The ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ helps the industries and corporate to participate in the Accessible India Campaign (AIC) by voluntarily evaluating their readiness for making the workplace accessible for Persons with Disabilities. The Prime Minister made a call to the Corporate Sector to come forward and support the Campaign during his speech on the occasion of the launch of AIC on 3rd December 2015, which also marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Steps taken to promote Schedule Caste Entrepreneurship :

Venture Capital Fund of Rs. 200 Crore for Schedule Caste Entrepreneurs created on 22 December 2014. The Scheme would be implemented by Industrial Corporation of India Limited. The Fund has been registered with SEBI. Credit Enhancement Guarantee Schemes for Young Scheduled Caste Entrepreneurs launched with a budget of Rs. 200 crore to facilitate concessional finance. This will encourage Entrepreneurship among SC and result in job creation.

First Ever Draft List of Denotified & Nomadic Tribes released :

The Ministry released first ever draft list of Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes, prepared by National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes in New Delhi on 27th June 2016. The draft list has state wise details of the Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes. 

Releasing the book, Shri Thaarwarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment said that it is the intention of the Government to bring all the downtrodden groups of the country into the mainstream as envisioned by the Prime Minister. In addition to the draft list of DNT communities, Minister also released the feedback from these communities, decisions of the commission and its communication with the State Governments. He also said that for the first time his Government has reviewed the progress of development of these communities, so as to identify their issues and suggest appropriate measures for their improvement. 

Motor Bikers, Citizens rally in support of Accessible India Campaign’s “Ride for Accessibility” at India Gate :

The Ministry and some of the leading Motor-Bike Groups of the National Capital came together to spread awareness about ‘Universal Accessibility’ through ‘Ride for Accessibility’ for the Accessible India Campaign. A festival of ‘Roaring Wheels’ rolled out at the India Gate in New Delhi on 24th July, 2016. The Rally ‘Ride for Accessibility’ was flagged off by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment.

Ministry signs MOU with  National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), AIIMS :

The Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi in New Delhi on 30thAugust, 2016 to conduct a National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use. The proposed National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use will provide estimates of proportion and absolute number of Users and Dependent individuals of various psychoactive substances (Drugs) in all the states/UTs and at the National level in India. It will also help in mapping the presence of services and interventions for drug dependent individuals and identifying the gaps in service delivery. 

Accessible India Campaign-Important achievements /milestones of the Campaign :

• 50 cities have been selected as part of this Campaign. 

• Eighteen organizations were empanelled as Access Auditors by the Department, after a detailed screening procedure.

• Access Audit of 1092 buildings out of 1098 building (work order issued on 19.03.2016) in 31 cities is completed, constituting 99.3% achievement. In addition to this, work orders for 410 buildings in 13 more cities have been issued on 23.06.2016 to the empanelled auditors in which Access Audit of 400 buildings (97.5%)  are completed.

• State Governments have been requested to send financial proposals along with pending Utilization Certificates (UCs) of previous years under SIPDA Scheme. Financial proposals from 10 States/UTs have been received.

• PRAGATI meeting   on Accessible India Campaign under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister with Central Government Secretaries and State   Chief Secretaries was held on 24.08.16 to review the implementation of the campaign. 

• Video conferencing with State Secretaries of Social Welfare Department of 10 States was held on 31.08.16 to expedite financial proposals.

• Decision taken that Central Ministries/Departments will carry out retrofitting of the building to make them accessible from their budget. It has been targeted that all international airports and A-1, A and B categories railway stations will be made accessible by December, 2016.

• Efforts are being made on accessibility of government websites and on the need to make changes in the Public Procurement Policy for mandatory accessible provisions in the purchase of IT Hardware and Software.  Accessibility of TV programmes and dissemination requirements are also important targets under Accessible India Campaign. 

• M/o Drinking Water and Sanitation and M/o Urban Development have been requested to ensure that adequate number of unisex accessible toilets is constructed in each block under Swachh Bharat Mission.

• 50 Accessibility Clubs in IITs, IIMs and other institutes have been set up for encouraging innovation and investment in Accessibility Solutions.

• The Department has prepared an index to measure inclusiveness and accessibility across different kinds of organizations.  The Index is an educational and aspirational tool, which aims at assessing the current state of inclusiveness and accessibility of persons with disabilities in an organization and acts as a guide for taking progressive steps to increase support, inclusiveness and accessibility towards persons / employees with disability. 

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