“Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill :
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is the principal Act for the empowerment of Persons with disabilities. The Act was enforced 20 years back. Meanwhile, there has been drastic changes in disability sector such as understanding disability and its social model of definition, new technology and process of rehabilitation etc.
Further, India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and subsequently ratified the same on 1st October, 2007. The Convention came into effect on 3rd May 2008. Being a signatory to the Convention, India has an international obligation to comply with the provisions of the Convention.
Keeping in view the fact that the existing Act of 1995 is not fully in conformity with the UNCRPD, a need was felt to have a rights-based legislation with a strong institutional mechanism.
The Bill had been mooted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment after extensive consultation with various stakeholders, State Governments/UTs and concerned Central Ministries and Departments and was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 7.2.2014, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The Standing submitted its recommendations on 7.5.2015. The Recommendations of the Standing Committee were also shared with the States/UTs as well as all concerned Central Ministries/Departments. Based on these consultations, amendments to the Bill have been proposed which would widen the scope of new Law and also provide a framework to enable the Persons with Disabilities to enjoy their enjoyment rights equally with others.
The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 30.11.2016 approved the proposal of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) to incorporate these amendments in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 during the ongoing winter Session of Parliament. The new Bill with amendments proposes to repeal the existing Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.