High time Tamil Nadu implemented RPWD 2016, say disability rights activists

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has been in force for over a year. The Act makes it mandatory for all state governments to follow the provisions. But this is not the case in many states.

The National Federation of the Blind has pointed out that the Tamil Nadu government is insensitive towards the needs and rights of disabled people in the state. Two months ago, the state government had framed some rules and put them up in public domain for feedback. Disabled people, NGOs and activists had given their comments and suggestions. But the government has not followed through.

The state government is supposed to ensure shelter, food and livelihood for people with disabilities. They are also supposed to collaborate with the central government to implement the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme where houses are to be provided to disabled people. But nothing has been done till date!

Under the RPWD 2016 Act, certain percentage of disabled people are supposed to be given jobs in every sector. But many candidates who deserve jobs are still unemployed.

The condition of blind students in government schools are worse. They are not even provided separate Braille textbooks! All the students are forced to rely on the Braille Press at the National Institute for Visually Handicapped in Chennai. Given that they make Braille textbooks for other schools across the country, the condition of blind students at Tamil Nadu is disheartening.

More than 12 lakh disabled people have applied for unique identity cards. Majority of them have still not got it!

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