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Telangana districts slow on forming committees for disabled people

The passage of the RPWD Act 2016 was meant to advance and safeguard the rights of people with disabilities in India. However, many states are yet to even notify the Act, which is the first step towards implementation.

One key provision of the Act is the setting up of district-level committees that are to look into the welfare of the disabled people in states. But in many states, like Telanganathe local administration is yet to wake up and form these committees.

The committees are to be headed by the District Collector with the Superintendent of Police acting as vice-chairperson. The purpose of the committee is act as a watchdog to ensure that various schemes are reaching the disabled people of the region. The committees must have representatives from education, health, R&B and social welfare departments along with non-official members and stakeholders from the disabled community.

It has been found that many district collectors have either failed to set up the committees or have not arranged the mandatory bi-annual meeting.

"Most districts have not formed these committees and the implementation of the provisions of RPWD Act is not being done as efficiently as expected. Even if they do, they do not have the non-official members or stakeholders from the disabled community in place. Till now only very few have formed these committees but meetings are not held." Says Srinivas N, Chairperson, Network of Persons with Disability Organisation-NPDO.

The watchdog committee is expected to carry out certain crucial tasks at the district level. Some of these are

- Monitoring the implementation of various schemes.

- Monitor the violations of provisions of the RPWD Act.

- Providing advice to District Collectors on the rehabilitation of people with disabilities.

Local authorities also need to speed up the awareness programs to make people aware about their rights.

"They must adopt various ways to ensure implementation - ranging from simple lobbying and advocacy to following up with State Commissioners to even moving courts," says Rati Misra, Advisor, NCPEDP

TheCommissioner of the Disability Department has been sending reminders to the 31 collectors across the state and demanded the report on progress made in this regard however, a response is still awaited. This shows the laxity at the part of the district level administrators when it comes to implementing the RPWD Act.

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