Showing posts with label HRLN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HRLN. Show all posts

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Right to Education Act 2009 set to be amended

Dear Friends,
There have been several voices against the RTE Bill which fail to die down- thanks to the ever vibrant disability sector. On 19th of September 2009, another Disability Rights Activists from across 15 Indian States assembled under the banner of Viklang Manch facilitated by Human Rights Law Network at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Before that the Manch had convened a two Day workshop on the issue which were inaugurated by none less than Chairperson- National Trust, Chairman-Rehabilitation Council of India and the Deputy Chief Commissioner -Disabilities besides Mr. Collin Gonsalves, Advocate.
The activists were angry and the unrest has grown over a period of time because of failure of the bureaucracy in treating the disabled with dignity and respect besides Govt. of India's failure to implement a major enabling legislation called the Persons with Disabilities Act.
The agitation was a final nail in the series of agitations earlier organised by AARTH-ASTHA , AADI, NCPEDP and other organisations in the sector. The very next day on 21st September, 2009 Mr. Sibal indicated that Govt. was seriously considering amending the RTE Act to include the concerns of the disability sector.
Now when the Govt. is seriously considering amendments in RTE Act, the Sector should reach out with one voice through a larger consultation so that no one is left out. The pursuit should be to address not only the Act but also suggest what ought to be there in the sub-rules of the Act so that the provisions that are included are implementable.
Here is a recent news which to me is no where indicative of its subject, though it spells out again the seriousness that the Ministry of Education is showing now.
SC Vashishth
Disabled children not to be in 'disadvantaged' class
5 Oct 2009, 0411 hrs IST, Urmi A Goswami, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Manmohan Singh government plans to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to broaden the ambit of “disadvantaged” children to include children with disabilities. It would like to introduce the amendments in the winter session of Parliament.
The ministry of human resource development (HRD) will be seeking Cabinet approval shortly for the changes. This move would allow differently-abled children from economically weaker and disadvantaged sections to take advantage of the 25% seats set aside in private unaided school under Clause 12 of the Act. This had been a key demand of disability activists when they met HRD minister Kapil Sibal. The ministry also plans to introduce changes in Clause 3 of the Act to extend the right to free and compulsory education to children suffering from disabilities as defined in the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.
This Act deals with severe mental retardation and goes beyond the scope of the Disabilities Act. At present, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act is applicable to differently-abled children covered by the Disabilities Act.
This move by the ministry of human resource development is in response to the protests by disability activists in August, just ahead of the legislation being taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha. At the time, the ministry had suggested that it could amend the Act after due consultation with those who work and research on issues relating to the education of children suffering from severe mental disabilities.
The ministry had also considered a higher outlay for home-based education, which many children with severe disabilities require. This effort to draw in larger number of children with disability also comes on the back of data gathered by a survey conducted by the IMRB.
The survey found that 34.12% of children with disability were out of school. The national average for children in the age group of 6 to 13 years is 4.22%. This figure is lower than the situation in 2005 when IMRB found the percentage of children out of school at 38.13. The highest concentration of out of school children is among those with visual disabilities (46%) and multiple disabilities (58.57%).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We need watch dogs and tab keepers to keep the disabilty movement vibrant

Dear Friends,
I appreciate such vigilant players in the disability sector. Such advocacy gives strength to the overall vibrancy of the Indian disability sector. We need to keep tab on various promises, laws and rules. Often, it is forgotten as new pressing issues overwhelm us. That is why the importance of such tab keepers.
If this fund is directed to the sector, we can have as many special schools, inclusive schools and accessibility around us besides vocational training and employment opportunities for Indians with disabilities. I know how many genuine organisations are not able to provide services due to resource crunch and delay in Govt. funding. The grants do not reach them even after the passage of the year for which they were required. The rampant corruption in providing support and grants. Each time, the authorities hide behind the excuses of their limited economic capacities when it comes to ensuring accessibility in infrastructure and providing support services.
The banks should be penalised for these lapses and made to pay interest at market rate for amassing the money for so long.
Also, we can't expect the CAG to be wise enough to know the needs and intricacies of the issues involved in the Disability Sector. Therefore, I would suggest that with CAG as its head, we could have membership from the disability sector to suggest and plan on how to spend the amount bring cheers in the lives of those experiencing disabilities and their families.
In addition to MSJE's funding, this money could be utilised for the special projects like vocational training, improving employement facilities, creating barrier free environment and more particularly towards the social security systems for those with no help from any corner. The constitution of such a board will also reduce the bureacratic hurdles that we often see in other departments especially in ministries like MSJE and the likes.

Congratulations Collin, once again!

Here is the news:
Banks pocketing funds meant for disabled
TNN 5 September 2009, 02:41 am IST

NEW DELHI: Banks and financial institutions have been pocketing an estimated Rs 724 crore annually by rounding up interest tax collections since 1993 despite a Supreme Court directive in 2004 that this money be used for creating a fund for implementation of the Disabilities Act to benefit disabled persons.
"Though a Trust headed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was set up, it appears that apart from starting a scholarship scheme for disabled students envisaging a maximum expenditure of Rs 1 crore per year from August 2008, nothing further seems to have been done," alleged a PIL in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves told a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan that the total sum due from the banks was now to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore and if it was given, implementation of the Disabilities Act would not require state funding at all. He showed the 2004 judgment of the apex court on this issue. This made the Bench issue notice to the Centre. In 2004, the SC had directed: "Despite the progressive stance of the court and the initiatives taken by the government, the implementation of the Disabilities Act is far from being satisfactory. The disabled are victims of discrimination in spite of beneficial provisions of the Act."
"We are therefore of the opinion that in the larger interest a fund for the aforementioned purpose be created with the amount at the hands of the Union of India and the appellants and other concerned banks, which may be managed by the CAG," it had said. "We would request the CAG to effect recoveries of all the excess amount realised by the Union of India by way of interest tax and interest by the banks and other financial institutions and create the corpus of such fund therefrom.
The appellants and other concerned banks are also hereby directed to contribute to the extent of Rs 50 lakh each in the said fund," the SC had said in its 2004 judgment. Gonsalves said as against Rs 5,000-10,000 crore which ought to have been collected, the amount collected is approximately Rs 150 crore of which Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for a scholarship scheme for disabled students.
Click here to read from the Source: The Times of India