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Some information about the recently amended Autism Bill

December 24, 2018

On 20 December, Indian parliament has passed the Autism Bill. The bill has been cleared by both the houses of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the ongoing winter session.

The bill is for those with autism or ASD- autism spectrum disorder. ASD is a range of developmental disorders and affect the social and communication skills of the affected person.

People with autism can have a wide range of symptoms, conditions and with different severities.

Here is some information about the bill.

The bill is called the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The National Trust is a statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. It is set up under the "National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities" Act (Act 44 of 1999).

The trust has been created to ensure welfare and empowerment of people with disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

- The autism bill clarifies the rules regarding appointment and resignation of members of the trust and is an amendment to the 1999 Act.

- The chairperson and members of the Board of the National Trust can hold office for a term of three years. The term will start from the date of their appointment or till the date of new appointments, whichever is longer.

- The appointment of new chairperson or any member of the board will be started at least six months prior to the expiry of their tenure by the central government.

As a mom of an eighteen year old with autism, I feel that with the passing of the Bill,autism spectrum has got the attention it long deserved. It appeals to the 'what after me' aspect of my parenting with focus on independent living and an assurance of 'protection'. Only siblings and caregivers have been earmarked for this all along!I t's great the government will be their partner in the journey. An extension of equal opportunities is also an absolutely feel good factor. Look forward to effective implementations! Anupama Bakshi, Parent .

The aim of the national trust is to ensure that people with disabilities get equal opportunities and fair treatment and also provide the required support to their families.

The trust will work to enable the people with disabilities to live independently and provide them with protection and care in case of death of their parents. It will also promote awareness and inclusion in the society to help the disabled people become part of the mainstream.

"As an autism sibling and a Masters student overseas, studying to work in the mental health field, I am exposed to streamlined systems and procedures in the Disability sector in various countries. To me, the passing of the Bill is historic. Hoping there will be no red tapism, delays and gaps in intent and execution. "Nikita Bakhshi,23, Autism sibling

The bill does appear good on paper and it seems that the government is deeply interested in the working of the trust. However, some activists have raised the concern about the increase in government's control over the trust and its working.

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