“It will be a befitting tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th Birth Anniversary if we can expedite the process and introduction of the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy (EDPAL) Bill, which was drafted by the Law Commission of India and annexed in its 256th Report,” Vardhan wrote in his letter.
While briefing the media, Joshi said that the prime minister told the parliamentarians that they should take up a social cause or an issue of human sensitivity as a "mission" apart from carrying out their duties as members of Parliament.
More than 12,000 leprosy patients were kept in 14 isolated sanatoriums across the country, and many were also forcibly sterilized. Many remained at the sanatoriums even after the termination of the segregation policy in 1996, fearing discrimination and with ties to their families severed.
As much as 64.8 per cent of leprosy affected people in the state are from the Scheduled Tribes. The figure had gone up from 63.91 per cent in 2015-16, and is way higher than the national average of 18.8 percent in 2016-17 and 18.79 per cent in 2015-16.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Grade 1 disability among new leprosy cases relate to eye problems, where vision is not severely affected and a person is able to count fingers from a distance of six metres.