The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act, 2016, was supposed to be implemented from April 19, 2016, and accordingly, a new state disability policy was to be made but no action has been taken in this regard and the pace of implementation of the Act in Himachal Pradesh is very slow, said Ajai Srivastava, an expert member in the State Advisory Board on Disability.
Talking to PTI Monday on International Day for Persons with disabilities, Srivastava said the new Act included 14 more benchmark disabilities and the total number of types of disabilities has gone to 21.
Despite their inclusion, the persons with newly included benchmark disabilities such as thalassemia, deaf-blind, specific learning disabilities, hemophilia, autism, multiple sclerosis and sickle cell disease are totally deprived of their rights as they are not being issued disability certificates as per the new law, he added.
Srivastava, who is also the Chairman of Umang Foundation, which is supporting the disabled students, said he shot off a letter to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, urging him to immediately prepare a required new policy for the disabled persons.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court had ordered on June 4, 2015, to provide free education to all disabled children up to the university level in all courses on his public interest litigation (PIL), he said, adding the universities implemented it but colleges, Polytechnics and ITIs are still charging fees from the disabled students.
"There is no effective mechanism in place to protect the rights of children with intellectual disabilities who are forced to study the same syllabus in schools which are taught to other children," Srivastava said.
He said, "There is an urgent need to design a separate curriculum for them as per their specific needs and a different certification of their qualification."
Srivastava said computer education and accessibility in all public places including educational institutions are other areas on which the government must focus.
The government should start day-care centres for intellectually disabled at tehsil level and provide a grant to NGOs who are running such centres, he added.
(With inputs from agencies.)