It’s been 2 years since The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act was passed by both houses of the Parliament on 16th December 2016.
Disability Rights India Foundation (DRIF) in collaboration with National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD), with support from Titan Company Limited, undertook a study to evaluate the progress made vis-à-vis the implementation of the RPWD Act in the States and the Union Territories of India.
How have the individual states fared?
19 questions were sent out, primarily focusing on the rules, administrative structures, notifications, allocation of funds and reservations of persons with disabilities – these are basically the underpinnings of the implementation of the Act.
The states and union territories that participated in the study are
- Andaman & Nicobar Islands
- Andhra Pradesh
- Jammu and Kashmir is yet to enact the Act in their State
- Himachal Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal
Responses were received from the above-mentioned 24 states and union territories with a 66 .6% response rate. Here are the findings:
- 58.3% states have not notified the State Rules – they should have been notified within the 6 months of the enforcement of the Act.
- There are 21 official languages and the Act has only been translated into 2 languages, viz., Hindi and Odiya. NCPEDP, out of its own initiative, with the support of state partners, has translated the Act in 9 languages, and also in sign language.
- 50% of the states and union territories from which the responses were received have not yet constituted the State Advisory Boards (SAB) and 83.3% are yet to constitute District Committees.
- There are no Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities in 37.5% of the states. The remaining 62.5% states where the Commissioners have been appointed there is not much progress. Many states don’t have full-time commissioners. Only 3 states (12.5%) have constituted Advisory Committees comprising of experts to assist the State Commissioner.
- 79.2% of the states have not constituted the State Fund to implement the Act.
- Only 4 states (16.7%) have appointed a Nodal Officer in the District Education Office to exclusive deal with matters relating to admission of children with disabilities.
- 58. 3% of the states have not notified Special Courts in the districts for trying offences under the Act. 87.5% have not appointed Special Public Prosecutors as mandated by the Act.
- 87.5% of the states do not have designated authorities that can decide what sort of support, and in which manner, can be provided to persons with high support needs to enable them to exercise their legal rights.
- As per the Act, every establishment (private and government) has to formulate an Equal Opportunity Policy and register it with the Disability Commissioner. 91.7% of the respondent states have reported NIL to the question as to how many Equal Opportunity policies they have received. Only 2 states – Delhi and Himachal Pradesh – reported that they have received 1244 and 1 Equal Opportunity policies, respectively, from the establishments.
- 54.2% of the states have not made any provisions for increasing reservation in employment from 3% to 4% in the government and public sectors.
- Only one state has taken some action to increase the quantum of assistance (by at least 25%) for people with disabilities in social security schemes. Only 50% of the states have started issuing disability certificates pertaining to the new disabilities that have been added in the Act.
The study also prepared a scorecard to rank various states according to the positive steps they have taken according to the provisions of the RPWD Act. According to the ranking of the study, out of 24 states and union territories, the states of Madhya Pradesh and Odisa scored the highest, that is, they have answered in the affirmative 12 out of 19 questions (63.2%) in implementing some of the provisions of the Act.
10 states and union territories have scored extremely low, that is, they have answered in the affirmative less than 25% of the questions. The scorecard is tabulated below.
|S. No.||State/UT||Score (out of 19)||Percentage|
|23||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||0||0%|
|24||Jammu & Kashmir||0||0%|