RPWD Act, 2016 to finally come into effect in Maharashtra
Well over a year after the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 came into effect, the Maharashtra government has finally moved to implement it. It has issued a government resolution (GR) to implement it in the state from 2 October, 2018.
The RPWD Act, which is regarded as a game changer for the disabled community in India, provides for reservation in education and employment to people with 21 disabilities. Two new disabilities have been included for the first time, which are blood disorders and learning disabilities.
This means disability certificates can be issued by district hospitals, sub-district hospitals, Government Medical College and Hospitals, general hospitals, cvic hospitals and city hospitals. Until now, this was only issued at district level centres.
The move has been welcomed by experts in the state, but they say the government should have moved to act two months earlier.
This is certainly very welcome but if this had come into effect a few months ago, then students seeking admissions into colleges would have benefitted. Nonetheless, we are happy that it has been finally acknowledged by the Maharashtra government. - Dr Vinkey Rughwani, President, Thalaseemia Society of India
However, reports are that even after this comes into effect on 2 October, it would take over a month for medical colleges to start implementing it. Experts are hoping that the government will work on expediting this. Many are also sceptical of how much this will really change things on the ground.
"I welcome the decision because it is beneficial for the disabled community", said Pradeep More,, who is with the State Level Association of the Deaf (SLAD). "But given how little the Maharashtra government is doing for disabled people, I am not sure how they actually go about implementing this. The SLAD has been petitioning the Maharashtra government for over four years now regarding demands that have been approved, but nothing has happened. So, fingers crossed!"
The inclusion of blood-related disorders like Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia will benefit many families. "The Act provides, not just for education and employment, but also for other benefits like travel allowance and assistance help for children with such disorders. This will be of enormous help", added Dr Rughwani.
In January this year, the Supreme Court had asked all states and union territories to implement the RPWD Act within three months.
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