Thousands of people with various disabilities gathered at India Gate for the Walk to Freedom.
The passing of The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 in the ongoing winter session of parliament will be of huge help to the disabled, said activists who gathered here on World Disability Day on Thursday.
Thousands of people with various disabilities gathered at India Gate for the Walk to Freedom that was organised by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).
“The new law will take us to the next level of development. If the 1995 disability act was the first phase of development, this bill will rocket us,” Javid Abidi, honorary director of NCPEDP, told media. “The final version is with the cabinet. We are really hoping that it would be passed this week in parliament.”
Abidi, who is himself disabled, said the definition of disability is limited under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. “The definition of disability right now is very limited and includes only seven disabilities. Whereas the new law will expand it to 19 and it will be path breaking,” he said.
However, senior Congress Party leader and spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said: “From parliament to the common people, everyone should participate in helping to overcome disability,” he said. Abidi also said there should be “no political fight” over the passing of the bill.
He said there are no provisions for deaf people right now but “the new law guarantees development for deaf people and improvement in sign languages as well”. “When people with autism can work in good companies elsewhere, why can’t it happen in India,” he asked. Several groups, including differently-abled people, participated in song performances and presented various acts at the event.