A bill seeking to set aside 5% of the public sector jobs and seats in higher educational institutions for disabled persons was introduced in Rajya Sabha last week. It also provides for the setting up of a national commission and a national fund for the disabled.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, which seeks to bring sweeping changes in the earlier bill and broaden the ambit of disability from existing seven to 19 categories, was introduced by minister Mallikarjun Kharge.
The CPI-M, however, demanded that it should be referred to a Standing Committee for further consideration. Last December, the Cabinet approved the bill but critics allege it does not carry a number of provisions originally put up in the draft bill of 2012.
As soon as Kharge introduced the bill, Yechury rose to his feet demanding that the bill be referred to a Standing Committee. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari will consider the demand.
The government maintains that the bill is in consonance with the U.N. Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India signed in 2007. Till now, reservation for the disabled was only 3%, 1% each for the physically, visually and hearing impaired. The new law raises the quota to 5%, and adds two new categories – mentally disabled and people with multiple disabilities.