Get-hooked December 17, 2020
Replace RCI Act with new legislation & not rush through with amendments, demand experts
Experts from various disability rights groups across India have written to the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, demanding that the move to amend the Rehabilitation Council of India Act be reconsidered.
Concerns over the Centre’s move to amend the Rehabilitation Council of Indi (RCI) Act are growing.
Last week the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India, had invited suggestions to its proposal for amending the Act.
The stakeholders have been given a deadline of 23 December to respond to this.
Over the years many concerns have been raised regarding the functioning of the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), which is the statutory body mandated with prescribing and mandating norms regarding special education in India. The RCI had been without a chairperson for years and there have been many issues regarding its admission policies as well as certification processes.
RCI flawed in many aspects
Special educators have also called out the RCI for the lack of professionalism and the sufficient domain experts. Experts say that while these Issues need to be addressed it should not be at the cost of the RCI’s autonomy.
Terming the RCI Act “outdated”, disability rights groups have written a letter to the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot suggesting that it be replaced with a new legislation.
The RCI Act precedes even the 1995 Persons with Disabilities Act. Various developments have taken place since then, which need to be considered. Nevertheless, we find that the proposed amendments do not fully reflect and take cognisance of the immense changes that have taken place. We feel that the attempt is piecemeal. – Joint statement by disability rights groups
The amendments, say activists, do not consider the varied issues including the functioning and administration of the RCI.
New legislation proposed
“We firmly believe that what is needed is a new legislation to replace the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992. This sentiment is also being expressed by various other organisations and disability rights activists with whom we have had informal consultations”, the letter states.
The letter demands that the deadline of 23 December given to stakeholders to respond to the proposed amendments be extended.