Passed by Parliament, Disabilities Act still not helping, say residents

Arvind is worried that his son will have to apply for the exam under the general category, as reserved category certificates have to be uploaded while filling the form. The last date for submitting applications is March 9.

Written by Shradha Chettri | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2018 3:09:31 am
Minister for Social Welfare Rajendra Pal Gautam said it will take two more months for the Act to be notified. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh

Arvind is the father of a 16-year-old boy suffering from thalassemia. In 2016, when the Disabilities Act passed by Parliament recognised the condition as a disability, he had hoped that his son would get better opportunities for higher education. But his son, who wants to write the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), can’t apply under the disability quota. The reason: he hasn’t been able to get a disability certificate as the L-G and the Delhi government are yet to notify the rules under the Act.

Minister for Social Welfare Rajendra Pal Gautam said it will take two more months for the Act to be notified.
In the last few weeks, Arvind said he had visited numerous hospitals in the city to get the certificate but returned empty-handed. “I first went to Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital but they said the L-G hasn’t notified the rules. It was the same at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

It has been two years since the Act was passed but the rules are yet to be notified,” said Arvind, who lives in central Delhi’s Gole Market. The Indian Express spoke to authorities at the hospitals, who said they can’t do anything till the government takes action. The Disabilities Act, 2016, increased the types of disabilities from seven to 21 — including conditions such as thalassemia, haemophilia, sickle cell diseases and others. Once the Act is passed, it is for the state government to form rules and notify it.

Arvind is worried that his son will have to apply for the exam under the general category, as reserved category certificates have to be uploaded while filling the form. The last date for submitting applications is March 9.
Like Arvind’s son, another student suffering from the same blood disorder said she couldn’t fill her Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) forms for engineering courses under the disability category. “I have been given the right by the central government, but I cannot avail the benefit. I wonder if this is a problem with Delhi alone or the rest of the country,” the girl said.

Gautam told The Indian Express, “As Delhi is a union territory, the government could not notify the rules. The power was with the Ministry of Home Affairs. We wrote to the MHA, which delegated the powers to the L-G. The rules were sent to stakeholders, who raised queries. So the file is now with the Law department.”

Once it is cleared by the law department, officials said, the government will seek permission from the L-G to publish it and invite suggestions. “It will take a month for people to give suggestions and objections. Very few states have notified the rules; we are looking at doing it in two months,” Gautam said.

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