3, December 2016

1.Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) bill provides for penalties for offences committed against Persons With Disabilities

Source: PIB

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December)

Economically empower persons with disabilities:

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in New Delhi.
  • Government’s National Action Plan for Skill Development will cover 25 lakh persons with disabilities by 2022 to enhance their employability
  • The President said the “Accessible India” campaign is a good step in creating barrier-free access to public buildings and public transportation. Similarly, information and communication technology has contributed in many ways to improving the daily lives of the disabled.

Swachh Ability Run 2016’ is a unique event highlighting two important social causes,

  • Firstly,  to showcase the abilities of persons with disability and bring inclusion and
  • Secondly, conduct a ‘Swachh Drive’ led by ‘Divyangs’ to convey a strong message to public to create awareness and social responsibility towards cleanliness.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, that in the “Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill, the Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and the types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.

What are all to be include?

Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time.

    • Acid Attack Victims have been included.
    • Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability.

 

  • The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.

 

Background

  • Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is the principal Act for the empowerment of Persons with disabilities.
  • 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.
  • 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 has 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.

The salient features of the proposed Bill with incorporation of the amendments are:

  1. The  persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
  2. Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  3.  The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.-

        They are: Blindness, Low-vision, Leprosy Cured persons, Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), Locomotor Disability,   Dwarfism, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Chronic Neurological conditions,  Specific Learning Disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Speech and Language disability, Thalassemia, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell disease, Multiple Disabilities including deafblindness, Acid Attack victim, Parkinson’s disease.

    1. Additional benefits have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
    2. For strengthening the Prime Minister’s Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.
    3. It has been proposed to increase reservation from 3% to 4% in Government jobs for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability.
    4. The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities.
    5. Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability have been proposed to be set up as policy making bodies.

 

  • Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included. Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability. The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.

 

It is expected that the proposed rights based legislation with more Rights and Entitlements and strong monitoring agencies at the National and State Levels will achieve empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the society in a satisfactory manner.

Once Rabindra Nath Tagore’s observed in one of his poems which come in my mind and I quote: “The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite with the differences intact.”

2.Surface-to-Air Missiles

Source: PIB

Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) has been jointly developed by DRDO and IAI, Israel to be launched from ship.

It possesses high degree of maneuverability at target interception range.

LR-SAM has been developed to counter a wide variety of airborne threats, like anti-ship missiles, aircraft, helicopters, UAVs drones and supersonic missiles.

Successful trials of Missile have been carried out recently and the weapon systems proven end to end.

3.Project Raftaar in Indian Railways

Source: PIB

As announced in Railway Budget 2016-17,  ‘Mission Raftaar’ was launched with the objective of  doubling of average speed of freight trains, and increasing the average speed of all non-suburban passenger trains by 25 kilometre per hour (kmph)  in next 5 years.

Mission:

  • Identification of major impediments to mobility and plan of action to overcome these impediments through improvements in fixed infrastructure, rolling stock, operational practices and institutional mechanisms.
  • Prioritisation of removal of such constraints on six Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonal routes (Delhi – Mumbai, Delhi – Howrah, Howrah- Chennai, Chennai – Mumbai, Delhi – Chennai and Howrah – Mumbai)  covering 9100 route kilometres entailing raising of sectional speed to minimum 130 kmph, removal of Level Crossings, removal of speed restrictions, and raising of speeds on turnouts etc.

4.Chairperson of the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation

Source: PIB

Dr Karan Singh, an eminent scholar, Rajya Sabha Member and a senior leader of Indian National Congress has been re-nominated as the Chairperson of the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Background:

  • The Government of India notified the constitution of Auroville Foundation as a Statutory Body on 29th January, 1991 as per the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988.
  • The Auroville Foundation consists of three authorities, the Governing Board, the Resident’s Assembly and Auroville International Advisory Council.
  • The Act vests the Governing Board with the responsibility and the authority for superintendence, direction and management of the Foundation’s affairs.

Auroville foundation:

  • Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in the state of Tamil Nadu, with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Shri Aurobindo, spoke in 1965 of her vision of a city of a new dawn, “Auroville” that she intended to build in the proximity of Shri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry.
  • Accordingly, the formal inauguration of the city happened on the 28th February, 1968 and was attended by representatives of 124 nations and all the states of India.
  • Today Auroville is recognized as International living experiment in human unity, endorsed by the UNESCO and supported by the Government of India.
  • It is also a centre for applied research in environmentally sustainable living practices, experimenting new system of education, social research and cultural activities.


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