Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill - 2016

The Lok Sabha unanimously on December 17, 2016 Passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016. The Bill had earlier been passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha on December 15, 2016.
The Bill stipulates upto a two-year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs. 5 Lakh for discriminating against differently-abled persons.

The Bill in Lok Sabha was cleared in the presence of the Prime Minister after a two-hour debate.
The Bill, which replaces the persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full Participation) Act, 1995, was brought in to comply with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India signed in 2007.

The Bill has raised reservation for such persons from 3 to 4 per cent. It will give more rights to people with disabilities, the minister said.

Social justice minister, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, told the Lok Sabha that a scheme to provide a ‘universal identity card for the disabled’ was on the anvil and an agency has already been finalized for the purpose. The proposed card would also be linked to the Aadhaar card to help the disabled all over the country in a seamless fashion, he said.

Gehlot said the universal identity card is being acted upon to overcome the problem of disability certificate being faced by those affected. Out of 82 recommendations made by the parliamentary standing committee, 59 were accepted by the government.

The bill, he said, has increased the number of categories of disabled persons from seven to 21.
The bill was originally moved in the Rajya Sabha in 2014 by then Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge who is now leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha.

The types of disabilities now include mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions.

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