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Status of RPWD Bill 2014

Current Issue with RPWD in Indian Parliament
By Sibaji Panda | 08 Feb 2014

Narrated by Sibaji Panda

Hello deaf friends, You all must be aware that a great number of deaf people from all over India, about 30,000 to 40,000, had turned up at India Gate, New Delhi on 3rd February, 2014. There were new faces you made friends with. Did you all think we have accomplished in our mission to gather and voice for passage of RPWD Bill? No. There were some hurdles to get the RPWD bill passed. Various disabled groups together had earlier met eminent political personalities like Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and other dignitaries from BJP as well as others holding key positions in parliament, to convince them of passage of RPWD Bill. They also met Law Minister as well. However, in the last moment, one group of blind people started to complain about flaws in certain provisions in RPWD bill. The disabled group (DRG) immediately helped them by finding solutions to their issues by setting up meeting with Law minister. However, thinking this way, we would be easily fooled into believing that Bill would be passed. Had not that blind group complained, government would have tabled the RPWD Bill in parliament and the same would have passed thus obliging our voice for passage of the bill. The day after our collective show at India Gate, complaints regarding flaws in RPWD were voiced by certain groups. Other discontent groups of disabled started manipulating members of parliament of different parties to not pass the said bill. Sensing the disparity in demand for passage of RPWD bill among various disabled group, DRG continued its mission demanding for passage of RPWD bill on 5th, 6th and 7th February. One dissatisfied blind group met CPI (M) leader, who is in key position in Rajya Sabha (RS), manipulated him, possibly by begging or by whatever means, to not pass the bill. The leader demanded that bill not be passed and recommended that it be sent to the standing committee for consideration for review of existing bill. Referring to standing committee does not mean that the bill is rejected. The standing committee would investigate flaws in the provisions present in the bill and may introduce amendments in the bill to make it appropriate, the process which would take long time. You may know that RPWD bill was in the work from 2010 and was completed in 2012, thus naming it as RPWD Bill 2012. Government might have thought it would be passed in the same year but it took long time to finalize the bill and hence year 2012 was gone. Hence it was renamed as RPWD Bill 2013. It was hoped that the bill would be passed in December 2013 but that wasn’t done. Again, it was renamed as RPWD Bill 2014 which was due for passage in the current session in parliament. If not done, it would be kept renaming with year 2015 or 2016 or 17. Would you all have liked to wait all these years to have the bill passed late? I believe it not. We deaf group can’t be fooled this way. Maybe a few deaf persons might have disagreed with provisions laid in the current bill but we would have possibly resolved differences later by meeting at workshops and finding solutions which would be part of future amendments to the law (bill). However, arguing over these differences among deaf people in the last minute is not really beneficial. You thought all different disabled groups were really unified throughout the process? No. As you saw, one blind group cried over certain issues in the bill immediately after our unified show on 3rd February. That group started crying foul and manipulated the leaders to not pass the bill in first attempt. Different disabled group initially agreed to work united and peacefully stay together till the bill is passed. But what happened? One blind group rebelled and started complaining. Let us understand the current situation. In order to get the bill passed, the members in government party, the congress; members in opposition party, the BJP; and other members from different minority parties elected to parliament, all must support the passage of the bill. However, one leader from communist party (CPI – M) named Sitaram Yechuri, on Friday, opposed to the passage of bill thrice and asked the parliament to send the said bill to standing committee for review. The disabled group (DRG) was really annoyed about this. I know some of you would be disheartened with the progress of the bill in parliament as most of you have travelled to Delhi to turn up in thousands to show solidarity towards passage of the RPWD Bill and hoped that it would be passed and you had returned on the same day or next. But we deaf people in Delhi did not rest and continued to turn up at places from 4th February through today, 8th February to demand for passage of bill along with NAD and other disabled groups. We also waited outside the residence of leaders from parliament and met them to explain the importance and benefit of passage of the bill for deaf people and convinced them to pass the bill. We will continue the same approach until the bill is passed. It might not be possible to update you of our work progress on daily basis. Now what I want to say to you is that you may start thinking whether it was really useless to come to Delhi for solidarity show on 3rd February and whether all of you may have to come back to Delhi again to do the same action. I hereby inform you that we deaf and other disabled groups discussed and decided that we will turn up at Jantar Mantar on 10th February, Monday where all disabled groups would gather at 9 am. We will continue voicing our demands by the same method, coming together in public to show solidarity towards passage of the RPWD bill.

ISL translated to English by Sunil Sahasrabudhe

An Extract from The Times of India

Government introduces Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in Rajya Sabha
Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Feb 7, 2014, 08.08 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Government on Friday introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in Rajya Sabha, seeking to increase reservation for disabled persons in public sector jobs from existing 3% to 5% and reserve seat for them in higher educational institutions.

Persons with disabilities under the proposed legislation -- which also seeks to broaden the ambit of disability from seven to 19 sub-categories -- will, however, not get such relief soon as the members in Upper House insisted to send it to a standing committee of Parliament for detailed examination before putting it up for discussion and passing.

If the chairman Hamid Ansari agrees to send the Bill to the parliamentary panel, then it won't be passed during the current session - the last one during the present government.


Demand to send the Bill to standing committee came from CPM membersin the House. As soon as Kharge introduced the Bill, the party member Sitaram Yechury rose to his feet demanding that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee. Deputy chairman P J Kurien, however, said that the chairman Hamid Ansari would take a call on this.

The government had in December last year decided to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995 with the new Bill. It maintained that the proposed legislation is in consonance with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India had signed in 2007.

Various Disabled Rights Groups had, however, protested against the Bill in its current form, saying the provisions were not in tune with the norms of UN convention. The groups had identified 20 shortcomings and suggested amendments in the Bill.

Besides introduction of this much awaited Bill, the Upper House could not transact any other business for the third consecutive day on Friday. Member raised various issues including Telangana, corruption and plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen simultaneously as soon as the Rajya Sabha assembles. As the din continued, the House was adjourned for the day after two adjournments during the first half.

Taken from Times of India

Sibaji at Arun Jaitley House
Sibaji Panda | February 7th, 2014 at 12:00pm

Hi, today is 7th February. Time is 2:30 pm now. You must be wondering what is going on. You may be confused over different bills being tabled in parliament, Telangana bill for example. You need not be confused now as I update you. Now I am outside the residence of Arun Jaitley, leader of opposition party, the BJP at parliament. He is expected to come and we hope to meet him. He is not here now. It is 2:30 pm and what is happening inside parliament at the moment we don’t know. But hopefully by 3 pm our RPWD Bill would be tabled in parliament. The problem is that a few members from minority parties, the communist party may not encourage passage of RPWD bill and they will ensure the bill is not passed. It would be referred to standing committee for further review. It means it is neither passed nor rejected but stays in the middle at standing committee for review. Later, the bill may be passed after considerable review. But what we think is that the bill must be passed as it took four years to make it and wait for it to be tabled at parliament for passage. We can’t afford to wait for another two years and would like the bill passed this time. Yesterday the 6th February, some of you got SMS saying that gathering was cancelled but it wasn’t true. I want to inform you here that today, the 7th February we gather here at 3 pm and you please turn up in good numbers, two hundred, five hundred or one thousand, bring your people to support passage the bill by gathering and showing solidarity towards passage of bill. We are gathering at Jantar Mantar, which is near the church where deaf people usually meet. We will stay together there for 4 to 5 hours with candle lights. We do not want the bill to go to standing committee for review and wait another few years to see the bill gets passed that time. So, please support by turning up in great numbers. Bring your candles, slogan boards, banners along with you. After 3 pm I will update you of progress. Thank you.

ISL translated to English by Sunil Sahasrabudhe


Sitaram Yechury

Political leader

Sitaram Yechury

Sitaram Yechury (born August 12, 1952) is an Indian politician and one of the communist leaders in the country. He is a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the party's Parliamentary group leader.

Taken from Wikipedia

Arun Jaitley

Political leader

Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley (born 28 December 1952) is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently the principal Opposition party in India. He is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and has previously held the portfolios as the Union cabinet Minister for Commerce and Industry, Law and Justice in the National Democratic Alliance government (1998-2004).

Taken from Wikipedia


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