People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April 25, 2010

Differently Abled Persons Demand Rights as Equal Citizens


On April 20 morning, a delegation of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled met the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and submitted a memorandum listing nine pressing demands facing the disabled community. The text of the memorandum is given below:

THE National Platform for the Rights of Disabled Persons represents various organisations working among different sections of the disabled in the country.

Thousands of disabled persons and their guardians have gathered in a dharna in the capital today, April 20, to raise their voice in support of the rights and demands of the disabled. Specifically, while raising the demands of all disabled persons we want to highlight before you the terrible plight of the economically and socially disadvantaged among the disabled, the poor, the scheduled castes and tribes.

The basic issue is that of approach of the government and we request you to consider our demands not as an act of charity but as fulfilment of entitlements and rights as equal citizens of India. India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled (UNCRPD) which enjoins the government to ensure minimum rights and livelihood to its disabled citizens.

We give below for your kind consideration our minimum charter for Social and Economic Rights and Justice for Disabled which was adopted in a national convention in February this year.



1) A comprehensive social security system for all persons with disabilities and their families, including Antyodaya cards to all disabled persons.

2) Free health care for all disabled in all hospitals.

3) Amend the RTE Act to include teachers and professionals. Continuation and increase of grants to special schools.

4) Identification of jobs for the disabled immediately. Special recruitment drives each year to fill the vacancies including backlog within a stipulated time.

5) Issuance of a Universally Valid Identity Card, which would be valid throughout the country and accepted by all departments & institutions.

6) Provision of concessions in all local trains, continuing the unreserved bogey for the disabled, extension of e-booking facility for the disabled.

7) Replacing the current Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) in consonance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and harmonising other laws.

8) Proper enumeration of the persons with disabilities.

9) Setting up of a separate ministry for disability affairs.

The organisations associated with the memorandum and the dharna preceding it included the Pashchimbanga Rajya Pratibandhi Samiilani, Kolkata; Differently Abled Persons Welfare Federation, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; Karnataka Rajya Angavikalara Mattu Palakara Okkota, Karnataka; Jharkand Vikalanga Morcha, Jharkhand; Tamilnadu Association for the Rights of all Types of Disabled and Caregivers and Vibhinna Prathiba Vanthula Hakkula Vedika, Andhra Pradesh. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, MP, Accompanied the delegation. (INN)