In a move that could empower thousands of people living a life of poverty and exclusion, the government has recommended including acid attack victims and those suffering from schizophrenia to the list of the differently abled to enable them to get disability benefits, according to the Economic Times.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has recommended the inclusion of the two new categories under the draft Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, the report stated.
In December 2015, the Supreme Court had ordered stricter measures to stop the sale of acid and had urged governments to consider including acid attack victims in the disability list to help them receive state benefits.
Women severely burned and maimed in acid attacks are often still treated as the fringe in Indian societies, the court had observed.
The benefits would also include reservation in government jobs and institutions. A Group of Ministers, headed by the Home Minister is currently considering the draft Bill, the report said.
ET quoted sources as saying that the GoM has asked the department for further categorisation of the different disabilities -- as physically disabled, mentally ill, mentally challenged and diseased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently coined the word Divyang, a person with extraordinary power, to address the differently abled. The bill is due to be tabled in the second half of the Budget session of Parliament.
The new draft, pending for the last two years will replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. In its current form, it covers 19 conditions instead of seven in the 1995 Act.
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