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18 Jun 2017

Centre notifies changes to empower the differently-abled

What is India doing for its differently-abled people?

The Centre will make a multitude of changes to provide greater accessibility to the differently-abled.

The changes include publishing government documents in electronic publication (ePUB) or optical character reader (OCR) pdf formats on websites, rebuilding public buildings, buses and public transport systems in order to make them disabled-friendly.

The changes are part of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017.

In context

What is India doing for its differently-abled people?
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in 2016


Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in 2016

The 2016 Bill increased the recognized categories of disabilities to 21 from 7 and raised the reservation quota from 3% to 5%.

It made people with over 40% disabilities eligible for state benefits like reservations in education, employment, railway tickets among others.

It is compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India ratified in 2007.


First-time additions to disability categories

The Centre added speech and language disability, and specific learning disability for the first time to the disability categories.

The categories include dwarfism, muscular dystrophy, blood disorders Hemophilia, Thalassemia, and Sickle Cell disease; acid attack victims have also been included.

The Bill authorizes the Government to notify any additional category of disability.

It ensures that differently-abled people enjoy equal rights.

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Rules for public buildings and hotels

General Rules

Rules for public buildings and hotels

According to the Disabilities Rules, 2017, all public buildings in India will have mobility devices such as wheelchairs.

They should also have smooth walking paths with a gradient not more than 1:20, accessible toilets, tactile blocks, proper signage, and space demarcated for clutch/cane users.

Also, hotels will now have at least two rooms per hotel/motel with accessibility to wheelchair users and connected bathrooms.

Improved accessibility in public transport systems

As per rules, the public transport systems, including buses, rail coaches, airplanes, and also ship vessels, will now need to make required modifications to become more disabled-friendly. They will have to adhere to the Central Motor Vehicles (Twelfth Amendment) Rules, 2016.


Changes to be made by public portals

Under the rules, the documents uploaded on government as well as public portals will need to adhere to the 'Guidelines for Government Websites'.

The Guidelines, finalized with Content Advisory Committee's consultation, are followed by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.

They include uploading documents in ePUB or OCR based PDF format to make the websites citizen-centric and user-friendly.

Reservation for the disabled

The Disability rules also specify guidelines for the 4% quota for the differently-abled in government jobs. They also entailed the procedures of hiring differently-abled people, maintaining the records and the capacities hired by every department, etc.

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